San Mateo County assistance programs.

Find a list of agencies that offer emergency financial help. There are charities, churches, and government grant programs for paying rent or security deposits as well as a mortgage. Or locate resources for paying utility or electric bills in San Mateo County along with free food, health care or gasoline vouchers, low cost loans, and more. The agencies offer financial aid along with advice, free legal aid, debt reduction services, and more.

One non-profit agency to turn to for help is the Community Action Agency of San Mateo County, Inc. They offer numerous services and resources to people who need assistance. Also find information on other local agencies and charities.

Help for utility and energy bills

Receive assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from Central Coast Energy Services. Call 1-650-242-9474 for information on the federal government funded program, which is run by the agency. It will provide cash grants and assistance to low to moderate income people by providing assistance to them in paying their energy costs and bills. The eligibility is determined by the applicants household income, family size, and other factors. If after applying, a household is determined to be eligible for a LIHEAP cash assistance payment, in almost all instances the payment will be sent directly to the utility or energy company and it will be credited to the utility bill. So in effect the individuals utility bill will be reduced by the amount of the grant.

Food program

Another service offered by the Community Action Agency of San Mateo County, Inc is access to a supply of free food. The agency will provides eligible families with up to a 7 day supply of food or groceries, including canned goods, vegetables, commodities, and more. The aid is available for food-eligible customers that may be receiving other CAA services. However, you can only get help once per year. So assistance is allowable one time in a contract year, so apply only if your need is dire. In addition, you can receive holiday meals around Thanksgiving and Christmas.





Grants for home repairs and improvements

The USDA Rural Development Housing & Community Facilities Program provides grants as part of the Housing Preservation Grant (HPG). The program is administered by in San Mateo County by the Community Action Agency of San Mateo.

The amount of housing assistance that a family can receive is extensive. This housing repair program provides for many updates, and it includes, but is not limited to: repair and replacement of porches, upgrading electrical systems and plumbing work, repainting, new windows, cornices, doors, awnings, the repair of driveways and floors. windows and windowpanes, fences, and new roof and repairs.

To learn more about the programs or to apply for help, contact the Community Action Agency of San Mateo County, Inc. at (650) 595-1342.

Help with rent in San Mateo

Catholic Charities of San Mateo administers various Homelessness Prevention Programs. The non-profit agency has as one of its many goals the mission of keeping people in their homes, and preventing evictions. Clients of the program can receive financial assistance to pay rent, security deposits, or referrals to other government programs or charities.

Another agency that may be able to provide rent assistance is Housing STAR. This organization provides access to other Eviction Prevention Services including landlord mediation, free legal representation, credit repair and debt counseling services, tenancy counseling, tenant legal help, and advocacy and/or housing search services. Dial 415.972.1355, or click here for additional rent assistance.

San Mateo County Department of Housing Authority (650 802-3300) provides rental assistance programs to eligible lower income to moderate income residents through rental assistance programs and self-sufficiency support services.

Other emergency rent and housing programs are available. This may be offered from a grant or other sources of funding. The local government, non-profits, and charities can all help individuals pay their rent or maybe a security deposit, with a goal of preventing evictions. Find an extensive listing of San Mateo rent assistance programs.





Emergency assistance and help for a crisis

A couple local charity organizations to turn to for help in San Mateo County California include the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County ((650) 373-0622) and the Salvation Army. Both of these agencies may be able to offer people assistance with a variety of their everyday needs. The assistance programs focus on the unemployed, seniors, poor, and low income and working poor.

While the type and number of services they offer will vary and partly depend on funding, people in need can get free food, help with paying rent and utility payments to keep individuals and families housed, help finding a job, and the agencies may distribute vouchers to shop, free of charge, at thrift stores for much needed clothes, furniture, and household products. The Salvation Army also has locations in Redwood City and Sunnyvale that provide help with bills, rent, and other expenses. Read more Salvation Army assistance programs.

St. Vincent offers some or all of those programs as well. While various services are offered in San Mateo, a focus of this charity is on homeless prevention. This includes funds for preventing an eviction or utility disconnection, employment services, or helping those without a home to find a place to live. Food, senior aid, and more is also offered. They may also have FEMA funds. Continue St. Vincent San Mateo.

Also contact Assisted Housing and Health Programs (415.972.1333). The program helps in many ways, and also provides counseling, case management, debt relief, money management and housing advocacy services. Learn more on debt help. For clients who are interested in the program and who also need support for medical expenses and hospital bills that may not covered by private health insurance or government Medicare/Medicaid, the agency also offers direct financial assistance and cash grants through the Saint Joseph’s Health Fund.

North Peninsula Neighborhood Services Center, Inc. is an agency that provides a variety of resources, social services, outreach, help with bills, and community education and home repair programs to low-income residents in San Mateo County California. Social services and assistance programs offered include emergency food and shelter, assistance with paying rent (first, last, and security deposit), crisis intervention and utility bill payments. They also provide extensive and information and referral services. Last, but not least, the program coordinates the Holiday Program and provides food certificates and toys to families during Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. 650 583-3373

West Valley Community Services - This non-profit provides food, clothing, help with rent, housing and security deposit assistance and case management. They also can offer holiday meals and toys to children. Another focus is on offering low income, below market rate apartments and homes to the low income. Call 408 255-8033, or read West Valley Community Services programs.




Sunnyvale Community Services - Provides a wide variety of resources and services to low-income residents of Sunnyvale seniors, working poor, and local families. Various programs provide emergency assistance including utility bill payments, free food, rent help, medical and health care and other critical bills. Household budget, debt, and foreclosure counseling is available. Phone 408 738-4321.

Crisis assistance and social services - The San Mateo County government organization known as the Human Services Agency offers a number of emergency programs for the low income. If you are qualified, you can get help with one or more of the following. Free or low cost medical care and health insurance can assist with health care needs. Food stamps, TANF, and food banks offer nutritional support. Housing, rent, and foreclosure help is offered by the housing authority. Even funds and grants for paying utility bills. Read more San Mateo emergency assistance.

Daly City Community Service Center offers various emergency material assistance and crisis intervention programs. Resources include food, shelter, transportation, and gently used clothing. After an interview process, immediate basic needs are addressed by referral to the appropriate local provider or receive direct aid. In addition, a long-term solution service plan is developed.

Get help and access to programs including employment/training information, budgeting, security deposit and rental assistance. Special programs include the Housing Assistance/Critical Family Needs Programs and Holiday assistance. Read more assistance from government.

Many other San Mateo County non-profit agencies partner with the center and provide services including Community Resource Project (formerly CAA), for PG&E assistance call 650-598-9247 and Legal Aid of San Mateo County (call 650-558-0915).

Daly City Community Service Center is located at 350 - 90th Street, 1st Floor Daly City CA 94015, (650) 991-8007

Assistance during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays is available. There are several charities, churches, as well as non-profits that will pass out free food, toys, presents, and other items to low income families. Or holiday food (groceries and meals) is available at pantries or soup kitchens. Find other free holiday programs in San Mateo County.

Fair Oaks Community Center offers the Critical Family Needs Housing Assistance Fund for the Redwood City-North Fair Oaks area. Other resources are food programs, child care, deposit and rental assistance, classes including ESL/citizenship, shelter referrals, housing assistance, legal services and immigration and citizenship assistance. Senior citizen programs are offered to, including food and meals. 2600 Middlefield Road Redwood City California 94063, telephone (650) 780-7500





Pacifica Resource Center. Provides comprehensive information and referral. Call them for crisis intervention services and emergency assistance, which includes gift certificates for food. This also operates an emergency food pantry stocked by Second Harvest Food Bank. Case managers can help people enroll in CalFresh, which is California's food stamps program. Limited funds are available to help with paying first and last month’s rent and security deposits. The center also assists with low-cost health insurance for children. It also offers Earn It, Keep It, Save It, which is a free tax preparation service from February to April 15. Funds are available to maintain or restore energy services and pay PG&E utility bills. Receive legal representation from La Raza Centro Legal. Get advice in the areas of employment, housing and immigration law. 1809 Palmetto Avenue Pacifica California 94044, (650) 738-7470

Samaritan House has bilingual community workers on staff. Programs offered are case management, emergency services, and information and referral to San Mateo agencies. Call for information on rental assistance as well as deposits. Adult education classes are held, including budgeting and English as a Second Language (ESL). Qualified people can get vouchers for groceries and kids clothing/shoes. Meals and food boxes are offered at Westside Church of Christ, 603 Monte Diablo, San Mateo. Samaritan House also runs free clinics that offer primary and specialty health care, including prescriptions, check-ups, and referrals. 4031 Pacific Blvd. San Mateo California 94403, dial 650-347-3648

El Concilio Emergency Services Partnership offers various human services. This includes emergency rental assistance, deposits, food boxes, casework, housing support, Brown Bag food program, and more. Other resources include employment assistance and senior programs. The Critical Family Needs Fund for the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto area is administered from this non-profit. 1798 Bay Road, East Palo Alto, CA 94303, dial (650) 330-7432

Community Resource Project, Inc. focuses on help with utility bills, payment services and weatherization / home repairs assistance for qualified low income families. Budgeting and free tips are offered too. 590 Taylor Way, Suite A, San Carlos, California 94070, telephone (916) 567-5220

Transitional housing programs - The homeless, people behind on their rent and the recently evicted can turn to these resources for assistance. A number of housing needs can be met. It includes short term shelter, a longer term home or apartment to live in, meals, and job training/self-sufficiency. Click more details.

Sparkpoint At Skyline College partners with non-profits such as the United Way. Self-sufficiency includes credit counseling, debt reduction and management, free tax preparation and more. Also learn about employment services such as English as a Second Language and financial coaching. (650) 738-7035

San Mateo County Department Of Housing And Community Development - The government agency works with non-profits to provide low income, subsidized housing, and other support. Home repairs can be paid for by the Rehabilitation Loan Program, which is a low-interest rate loans for qualified working poor and senior homeowners. Another resource is the First-Time Homebuyer as well as the Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program. 264 Harbor Boulevard, Belmont, CA, 94002, dial 650-802-5050.





Innvision Shelter Network operates from several offices around the county. They run transitional and emergency housing programs in the region. The non-profit agency will provide extensive social services to homeless county residents and families facing eviction. Referrals are accepted via local charities and community-based agencies. There are centers and housing programs available in Daly City, Menlo Park, San Mateo, and other nearby areas. While more limited, vouchers may be provided for paying for hotel or motels for families and pregnant women. Another resource is the Housing First Program which provide rental subsidies, financial aid and case management. 1450 Chapin Avenue, Burlingame, California, 94010, call 650-222-4988 for intake.

San Mateo regional diaper banks - They can help new moms and dads. The assistance is also combined with public aid and charitable resources. All together there may be the following.

  • Free diapers, baby wipes, and hygiene items.
  • Clothes for the newborn and mom as well.
  • Infant furniture, including cribs, high chairs, and more.
  • Find a hot of other baby supplies in San Mateo County.

Homelessness prevention services are offered by a few agencies. Veterans are the primary beneficiaries, but other lower income families can apply. Programs administered include emergency shelter, rent payment assistance, and money for security and utility deposits. Other resources may offer assistance with mortgage payments, utility and energy bill help, emergency car repairs, and other financial aid. Or receive information and guidance on the section 8 housing program.

Many homeowners also need support in stopping a foreclosure, and the homeless prevention service helps with that as well. The agency also has information on mortgage help in California. Click mortgage help in California.

Homeless Prenatal Program (call (415) 546-6756) provides financial assistance for security and rental deposits for families with children, homeless individuals, and also low income pregnant women.

La Raza Community Resource Center, Inc. offers resources for Spanish-speaking San Mateo and Bay Area county families. Receive details on assistance programs for health care, free food, legal aid, immigration, emergency rent help and employment. Get help in applying for GED, social services, and other government aid. 474 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California, 94103.

Lutheran Care For The Aging can help residents over the age of 55 and senior citizens. The non-profit may have a very small emergency cash fund to provide limited financial assistance with housing needs and energy bills. 415-441-7777

San Mateo Homeless Services Center offers help to the currently homeless and people facing eviction/homelessness. Receive meals, emergency rent help, shelter, and low income, transitional housing. As resources allow, also offers security deposit, moving cost, money for rent, utility bill payment assistance, bus passes, and referrals. Also get information on job programs. Call 831-458-6020 for information.

Free food and pantries

Another charity to turn to for free food is the Second Harvest Food Bank. Dial 1-800-984-FOOD. If you dial the number you will be put in touch with counselors who will help people and individuals in need of food find resources, pantries, charities, and services in their local neighborhood. The staff members are multilingual and they will direct callers to local food assistance programs in either Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties California.

Saint Anthony's Padua Dining Room is located in Menlo Park and can be reached at (650) 365-9665. The non-profit charity offers meals, food, and more. Other items distributed include free clothes, baby formula, and holiday meals.

Those are just a couple of the local centers. Click here for additional food pantries and distribution centers.

Foreclosure prevention and debt reduction services in San Mateo

Two of the leading agencies include SurePath Financial Solutions (877 615-7873) and Consumer Credit Counseling Services (800 777-7526). Between the two agencies, they provide debt and mortgage counseling for persons encountering difficulties with facing a foreclosure or debt situations. Learn more on medical bill consolidation.





The agencies may offer money management, credit repair workshops and budgeting skills. The Debt Management Programs and Debt Solver Program is will help repay debts (including credit card and medical) and helping creditors to receive the money owed them. Housing counseling helps with avoiding and preventing foreclosure.

CCS of San Francisco can be reached at 800 777-7526, and the non-profit supports San Mateo County. Credit counselors provide support, advice, and counseling on tasks such as budget planning, personal money management, bankruptcy filing and the various uses of credit. Also assists qualified individuals to develop a workable plan for the orderly liquidation of medical and credit card debts. In addition, call about the availability of free workshops for surviving unemployment, mastering credit for high school students, and first-time home buying.

Counselors also offer free or low cost counseling for the purchase of a house, mortgage default counseling, and transitional housing and tenant counseling. Get information on foreclosure prevention counseling that is offered, and specialists can help families keep their homes by working with lenders to do loan modifications.

Community clinics

Try the following for low cost and maybe even free medical care. Any bills will usually be based on the patients income, and very few, if any people are turned away from these centers. Or find other California community clinics.

  • East Valley Community Clinic - 408 274-7100
  • San Mateo County Health System - 650 573-2757
  • Samaritan House - 650 347-3648
  • San Mateo Medical Center - Has several centers around the region. Call (650) 877-7070

Those are four of the leading medical and dental clinics in the county. Click here to find several other locations that may have sliding fee scales for low income and uninsured.


By Jon McNamara

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