San Mateo emergency assistance.

Emergency assistance in paying for basic living expenses is available in San Mateo County. The local community action and Human Services agencies administer several financial and temporary assistance programs for the low income and those with an unexpected crisis.

Many of the resources offered are temporary in nature. If you are unemployed or if you are working but your income is too low to pay your bills then the San Mateo emergency assistance programs may be for you.  Note that the San Mateo Human Services Agencies have a work first policy in place, meaning that individuals need to be committed and actively searching for a job, working a part time position, or attending activities such as job training. Residents need to become self-sufficient and need to be able to pay their own bills and costs.

Cash assistance offers financial help for a crisis or some type of urgent need that has to be taken care of right away. Assistance may pay for one or more of the following in San Mateo, including help in locating emergency free food, PG&E assistance funds, shelter, clothing, employment services, short-term counseling, and additional services.

Food assistance from CalFresh is administered. The food stamp program, also called CalFresh, can provide electronic benefits to income qualified families. The vouchers and cash assistance can then be used to buy food at most grocery stores across San Mateo County.

San Mateo Cash Assistance For Families With Kids, otherwise known as CalWORKs, can help families achieve short to long term self-sufficiency through job training, employment services and temporary cash assistance.

The disabled can get emergency financial assistance from Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI). Funds are offered for legal non-citizens who are age 65+ or are disabled or blind.

Low income adults with no children may qualify for help from the San Mateo General Assistance For Adults (GA). This county service may offer short-term financial assistance or cash grants that can provide assistance for eligible low-income adults without children. The program is targeted at the unemployed or people who are unable to work in San Mateo County.





Medi-Cal, also called Health Insurance for Families, can offer health care coverage and assistance with medical bills and debts for low-income families, the disabled and elderly who do not have health insurance or can’t qualify for any other charity or government health care.

Health Plan of San Mateo (HPSM) is funded by the Medi-Cal program. It is a countywide health system that was put into place and it is currently contracted by the State of California. The county will work to improve the quality as well as continuity of health care for residents by providing case management, advice and a cost-effective organization of resources and savings plans. The county also offers Insurance for Children (Healthy Families).

San Mateo County Health Department offers information and resource on public and mental health, food and nutrition, environmental health; adult and aging care, and emergency services; prescription drugs and general medical clinics; and much more.

To learn about these services, call a Human Services Agency near you at (650) 301-8440 in order to apply. Or contact a community action agency, which is listed below.

  • Coastside Hope, 99 Avenue Alhambra P.O. Box 1089, El Granada, California 94018, Phone: (650) 726-9071, FAX: (650) 726-7096
  • Daly City Community Services Center, 350 - 90th Street, Daly City, CA 94015, Phone: (650) 991-8007, FAX: (650) 991-8227
  • Fair Oaks Community Center, 2600 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063, Phone: (650) 780-7500, FAX: (650) 298-8184
  • El Concilio of San Mateo County, 1798-B Bay Road, East Palo Alto, California 94303, Phone: (650) 330-7432, FAX: (650) 321-7785
  • North Peninsula Neighborhood Service Center, 600 Linden Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080, Phone: (650) 583-3373 or 588-8822, FAX: (650) 583-4178
  • Pacifica Resource Center, 1809 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, California 94044, Phone: (650) 738-7470, FAX: (650) 359-2053
  • Samaritan House, 4031 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA 94401, Phone: (650) 347-3648, FAX: (650) 347-6066
  • Puente De La Costa Sur, 620 N. St., Pescadero, Phone: (650) 879-1691





Additional San Mateo emergency assistance programs

Other government agencies administer a number of resources for select individuals. They are listed below.

Veteran Assistance – Help may be offered for the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran; Child of a deceased or disabled Veteran; Parent who lost a son or daughter in military service; or the Spouse of a Veteran.

Financial assistance and case management may be offered for veterans in San Mateo for one or more of the following. Learn about V.A. burial benefits, California state veterans benefits, Non-service connected pension claims, Service connected disability compensation claims, home loan guarantees, life insurance and more. Emergency assistance can provided for medical and dental treatment, Emergency shelter, food, health, mental health, Home-based help for the physically challenged, and other emergency bills.

Several local non-profit agencies work together to support veterans. They include:

  • Paralyzed American Veterans
  • The American Legion
  • Vietnam Veterans of America
  • California Department of Veterans Affairs
  • AMVETS (American Veterans)
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars

Or you can call San Mateo County Veterans Services, 400 Harbor Blvd., Bldg. B, Belmont, CA 94002-4047. Phone number is (650) 802-6598. Case managers and specialists at this agency will do their best to ensure individuals and their immediate family members receive all the benefits and services that they are entitled to.




Emergency rent, low income housing, section 8, and more may be provided by San Mateo Housing authority. Call (650) 363-4000. Just a sampling of the housing assistance offered by this agency includes.

  • Section 8 Homeownership
  • Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program
  • Rental Help and assistance from Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8)
  • Project Based Housing
  • Family Unification
  • Moving to Work Program
  • Shelter Plus Care Program
  • Public Housing & Locally Owned Housing


By Jon McNamara

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