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Assistance programs San Luis Obispo County.

Rent, mortgage, security deposit and energy bill help in San Luis Obispo County stops homelessness. There is also free food (including from charities or churches), government aid, free medical or dental care from clinics, and much more. Find how to, and where to, get financial help, which is available to low to moderate income families.

Free clothes for school

A fairly new program, known as Operation School Bell (805-782-0824) is run by an organization that provides elementary school aged children with brand new clothes and outfits so that they start the new school year by fitting in with the rest of their classmates. The school aged children are referred to the program and Assistance League organization either from a social services agency or even the local school they attend.

In addition to School Bell another new program that is being piloted this year is known as Sue’s Stars. This is a program that is run by volunteers that have allocated $100 per student for children in seventh and eighth grades, so the program provides free clothes for kids who are slightly older. The children, their parents and also the volunteers traveled to local Old Navy stores and purchased school clothes from the store that gave them a discount, thus providing the kids with new, free school outfits.

The programs are run from locations in San Luis Obispo, and a second location is at the Santa Rosa Academic Academy, and is located in room 16 in Atascadero. There are many other services available as well, and read more on the Assistance League.

Energy assistance programs

The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo, Inc. (phone (805) 544-4355) provides programs that can help people save energy as well as provide cash grants for utility bills. All resources are limited and based on funding and the applicant’s criteria.

Energy assistance is offered in the form of a weatherization program, utility bill assistance, Furnace Repair & Replacement, Water Heater Replacement, and even Home Repair Services.




Rent, utility bill help, and financial aid

San Luis Obispo Catholic Charities also runs several programs. They provide counseling, information on local resources and agencies, and may even have, from time to time, cash that they can distribute to needy individuals to help them pay emergency bills, such as utilities and rent. The agency can also help people apply for government assistance, such as food stamps (CalFresh), housing vouchers or cash assistance type programs. Call (805) 544-1048, or read more on the resources offered.

Call the Salvation Army to learn about the various assistance programs they run. Specifically, they offer such services and resources that are provided to low-income families and individuals include: emergency food support, rent help, lodging, clothing, furniture, utility bill help, transportation and housing assistance. Other resources may be provided by the San Luis Obispo non-profit including free Christmas assistance, shelter, and meals for seniors. Call (805) 544-2401 or learn more.

5Cities Homeless Coalition assists the low income in southern San Luis County that are facing eviction and the currently homeless. One resource is known as rapid rehousing, and it provides either first months rent or eviction prevention assistance to families and households who may be facing a crisis. The homeless can use a shelter (including to stay warm during the winter) or get a meal.

Other assistance is available from the coalition too. They coordinate basic medical care, offer clothing, and other support. In addition, they also provide information/referral to connect individuals and persons to needed services. This may be other local charities that issue grants and community providers. Dial 805-574-1638.

Family Supportive Services (Servicios de Apoyo de Familia in Spanish) or Catholic Charities offers two different resources. There is short term aid, which is known as Hope in Home. The second option is for long term success, and that one is Pathway to Stability. Both of these assistance programs can help the working poor and individuals that want to better themselves.

The organization will support San Luis Obispo County families in an effort to help them in today’s difficult economy. Family Support services may have some funds that go towards providing financial assistance, help with rent, utility bill assistance, and will help pay for other programs. In some cases, there may also money to pay for rental deposits and security deposits and funds to pay for moving costs.





All Catholic Charities/FSS services will require a full assessment to be done. Based on the results of that process, either government grants or some other form of financial aid is given. One of the requirements will also be an enrollment into a case management plan, and Pathway to Stability requires this.

FSS in San Luis also partners with nonprofit agencies, charities and other organizations. Clients can get referrals. All of these groups work together to provide help, support, social services and assistance to the homeless and poor. They are also all helping to disburse the free money. In addition, the grants can also be used to provide short-term housing assistance and other support for homeless persons, such as 30-day motel vouchers. The resources are run from 3592 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401, or call 805-541-9110.

Saint Patrick's Church provides many resources to qualified clients. There may be free bus fare/passes, utility or gas bill help, and food. More resources may also be available from time to time from the Arroyo Grande based church. The address is 501 Fair Oaks Avenue, or dial 805-489-2680.

San Luis County churches ofter can help the low income, poor, and homeless. Several work together in order to better coordinate financial aid or operate pantries. Everything from clothing vouchers to loans to pay deposits or rent as well as electric bill help may be issued, and find additional assistance programs from churches.

Saint Vincent De Paul Society is located at Old Mission Parish Center. This Christian church groups provides free food vouchers, transportation to interviews or doctors if needed and resources allow. There may also be free prescription medication, eyeglasses, partial rent as well as utility bill assistance.  San Luis residents that need help in getting identification cards may be able to get support as well. The number is 805-544-7041, and address is 751 Palm St., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

Affordable and quality high care

Community Health Centers (phone 805.929.3211) has as its goal the mission of enhancing the health status of all people in the San Luis Obispo area, as well as the Central Coast of California. They focus their programs on the medically under served by providing this population with accessible, comprehensive, affordable, & high quality healthcare services from well trained professional staff, including nurses and doctors, in strategically located health centers and clinics in the area.

Dental care for children

A dental program for children is offered by La Clinica de Tolosa. This non-profit agency is increasing access to dental care and is trying to improve the overall health of underserved children who live in San Luis Obispo County through quality dental treatment, cleanings, prevention and education on the importance of dental programs. Learn more on dental programs, or dial (805) 238-5334

Free foreclosure prevention advice in San Luis

From time to time, People’s Self Help Housing runs free seminars that were created to address concerns about mortgages, including predatory and Adjustable Rate Mortgage Payments. Loan counselors will be available to meet with borrowers and offer them advice on options that may be available to help them get back on track. The non-profit can also have information on additional non-profit credit counseling agencies in California. Call (805) 781-3088 for a comprehensive listing of their programs and services offered.





Free food and meals in San Luis Obispo County

Families that are struggling, or that are in a crisis, can try agencies such as the AIDS Support Network (dial 805-781-3660), the Salvation Army, and one of many other organizations. Each one of them will operate either a food pantry and/or a soup kitchen.

Not only may there may bags of groceries given, but other assistance is given as well. Some provide gently used clothes, they operate thrift stores, or even provide help at Christmas or Thanksgiving. So many services are offered, and find details on San Luis Obispo County food banks.

Credit, foreclosure, and debt counseling

Another organization to contact for help with foreclosures, debt assistance, and credit repair is Surepath Financial Services. 877-615-7873.

Meet with a Certified Credit Counselor who will then proceed to review your current financial and personal situation, including your income, outstanding debt, spending patterns, credit cards, assets and liabilities. The information that is gathered in this process will help the counselor determine whether a debt management plan, our Debt Solver Plan, is right for you.

If you need housing help, Surepath is also a HUD approved agency. Click here for more information on HUD agencies. Once again, meet with a certified housing counselor who will will conduct a thorough review of your current mortgage loan and financial situation to determine your options at no cost. Some of the options that will be discussed, for free, to prevent a foreclosure can include loan modification, a repayment/forbearance plan, deed in lieu or a short sale of your home.


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By Jon McNamara














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