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San Diego County non-profit community assistance programs.

Various forms of assistance are coordinated by non-profits for low income residents of the greater San Diego community. They do provide support in partnership with other government agencies and charity organizations. Everything from free food to shelter and loans for paying bills or rent is offered.

The main goal of the agency is to help families and individuals become self-sufficient. So they offer information on job training and educational support as well. Case managers may also be able to direct families to more longer term government subsidies as well.

Financial aid and loans from San Diego community resources

County residents with no other means of support can turn to the states and counties General Relief Program for assistance. Financial aid is offered in the form of cash loans. The funds can be used for a variety of needs, including paying rent, mortgage, utility or medical bills. Clients are required to repay the county. Job training is required from participants as well, with the possibility of applying hours spent in training to the amount owed. Dial 866-262-9881 for information on loans from General Relief.

Qualifying lower income immigrants who are ineligible for the federally-funded Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment program instead have the option of participating in the state of California funded Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI). This can also provide grants for basic needs and living expenses.

The Interfaith Shelter Network (phone 619-702-5399) coordinates with several neighborhood agencies and charities to provide case management and support services for the homeless. Services offered include assistance in finding and securing temporary shelter, permanent housing, and access to a source of income.

The target population consists of mentally competent, substance abuse-free persons. All of the guests of the Interfaith Shelter are required to undergo screenings or be referred by a case management agency.

This program operates in the most heavily populated areas in the county, including Coastal San Diego, Clairemont San Diego; East San Diego; Coastal and Inland to the north; and regions to the south and east. Each area is served by at least one case management agency. During the cold-weather months the Network provides extra housing sites within San Diego County. In addition to emergency lodging, services provided by the Interfaith Shelter Network may include free Food and Hygiene Items; Career Guidance as well as Employment Assistance; Case Management, and access to Housing, both temporary and permanent.




When it is time for people to leave the shelter, they may be referred to government grants that may assist with first month’s rent or a portion of a security deposit.

The San Diego County wide Family Self-Sufficiency Service (FSS) provides low-income individuals and families with assistance in achieving stability and financial literacy. This is done by working with clients on overcoming barriers to employment and eliminating behaviors that have resulted in dependency on others for help.

Services provided by staff from FSS include instruction in job-readiness and social competence. They also cover technology, including smart phone apps for spending and budgeting. This is offered as steps toward gaining a better lifestyle and a stable financial base. Once a family is on their own, the program follows up with them periodically to ensure that they remain self-sufficient. Locate Android and iPhone apps for saving money and making cash.

In addition to the services described above, CAP’s FSS program works with a network of community partners to provide assistance for the homeless population in the county.

Eligible families are provided with case managers that are approved by CAP community action. They will guide them in addressing concerns such as eliminating barriers to employment, obtaining stable housing and becoming self-sufficient.

San Diego rent and housing prices are always some of the highest in the country. It can be difficult to pay rent, so assistance is available. Community Action Agencies offer counseling, direct funds, loans, eviction prevention defense and other support. Whether an immigrant, senior, or just struggling tenant, programs are available. Find charities and applications for rent assistance.

In addition, the non-profits in the community coordinates with the county's Hotel Voucher Program to provide shelter for several months out of the year. CAP is also involved in administered the federally funded Emergency Food and Shelter Program. It is available in southern California and is funded by FEMA. The program provides free hotel vouchers and food for homeless families.





To save energy costs and keep cool and comfortable during the hot summer months, CAP encourages residents to patronize designated Cool Zone sites. These are air-conditioned locations in the San Diego County region where seniors and others can gather to cool down, rest, and gear up to head back outside. The program encourages people to share air conditioning during the heat of the day, reducing individual usage and conserving energy for the whole community.

Programs for the disabled and senior citizens

The Home-Delivered Meals service offered by local non-profits serves adults aged 60 and older who are homebound due to disability or illness. Clients are required to register with a County of San Diego nutrition provider offering this service.

The process begins with a request for a low cost home-delivered meal, followed by a home visit from a program representative. This is done for the purpose of performing an intake or needs assessment. If found to be a good candidate for the service, the resident can have a hot meal delivered each weekday, as well as frozen meals intended for weekend use.

Follow up assessments are required on a quarterly basis by San Diego County Community Action Partnership. This will ensure that the senior or disabled individual still qualifies for the program. There is also a voluntary donation requested for each meal delivered. To apply for home delivery of meals, please call 800-510-2020.

San Diego County Community Action Partnership and its partners are also involved in the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program. This provides assistance with household tasks and personal care for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income. It also serves those who have low incomes and are in need of in-home assistance in order to remain independent.

In many cases, IHSS services enable seniors in San Diego and the disabled to remain living in the comfort of their own homes, while also improving their day-to-day lives. Call 800-510-2020 for assistance with Shopping trips; Grooming and Bathing; Basic Housekeeping Tasks; Laundry; and Meal Preparation and Clean-Up.

Older adults and the elderly can look into job training from the national Senior Community Service Employment Program. The federal resource, known as SCSEP, provides funding for some types of employment training for low-income older adults. Please call 800-510-2020 for information or assistance.

The counties Free Legal Services Program offers affordable assistance in regard to simple legal matters to older adults (60 and older) and those who act as their caregivers. It can help with eviction defense, applying for government benefits and more. For those from the region that are dealing with more complicated legal issues, they can supply referrals to other pro-bono legal services. Please call 800-510-2020 for information.

Health care programs in San Diego

For residents in need of assistance with health care, Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, pays for a variety of high quality yet low cost medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources.

County Medical Services (CMS) and various agencies network with community health centers, clinics private physicians, and hospitals to provide funding for indigent adult residents of San Diego County who are in need of medical care.





Education and employment services

School-Based Family Self-Sufficiency Services are designed to support O'Farrell Community Schools’ educational mission of addressing the intellectual, social, psychological, health, and physical needs of middle-level youth, helping them become responsible citizens. For further information, please call 619-338-2799.

CalWORKs assists people with making the transition from welfare to work. Available services include providing temporary cash assistance to eligible families with minor children and moving families with children from dependency to self-sufficiency through gainful employment. More on cash assistance amounts by state.

Contact to apply for resources

As noted, these programs, and more, are offered by local non-profits. Call 1-866-262-9881 for referrals and more information.


By Jon McNamara

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