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San Mateo County Salvation Army assistance programs.

The Salvation Army in San Mateo County offers qualified low income, and people who are struggling, an extensive array of programs. The services range from limited financial assistance for needs such as rent and utilities to basic needs including food, free Christmas meals and toys, and more. There are even free back to school supplies, furniture programs, homeless shelters, and other services arranged.

Most of the financial and free material aid will be provided to San Mateo families at the same time that case management and self-sufficiency is offered. It is important to not only provide crisis aid to those who qualify, but to also ensure people are on the path to long term sustainability. A summary of the social services and emergency assistance that may be offered is below.

Emergency financial help and cash assistance in San Mateo County

Housing programs are extensive, and focus both on homeless prevention and outreach. For people facing eviction or foreclosure, then the San Mateo Salvation Army may have very limited amounts of emergency funds for help with paying rent or mortgage.

Homeless Outreach services will try to provide shelter, short term housing, and case management to people who currently need a home. Work with a case manager to find a safe and affordable place to live, and partner with them to ensure you have the income and training to maintain the residence. Short term motel vouchers may even be offered for the homeless. Find other rental assistance programs in San Mateo County.

The cost oh housing (renting or buying) is often prohibitive for even moderate income families in San Mateo County. While direct financial help is rare, Salvation Army case workers can offer information on mortgage assistance.

Energy and electric assistance may be offered from the REACH energy bill assistance program, which is offered by PG&E. However you do need to meet criteria, and also need to call your local corps center to apply. Or get referrals and information on HEAP, which is an alternative federal government energy assistance program.




Food and meal programs are offered each Thursday, and select other days in San Mateo. They are offered in partnership with Family Harvest food bank. Assistance to individuals/families comes in the form of Feed the Need Brunch, furniture and clothing vouchers, and an emergency food pantry.

Salvation Army employment, case management, and self-sufficiency

The bus token program can offer transportation in an emergency, and it is mostly used for rides to work and/or appointments such as doctors. Like many Salvation Army programs, it is offered as a last resort and can even include Greyhound bus vouchers. Work and transit is covered, and find more details on how to get free bus passes.

The financial help from Salvation Army social services, namely financial help, also requires this form of case management. As the Christian faith based charity wants to help people gain mid to long term stability. As the assistance is a hand-up, and not a hand out. Educational classes, budgeting, ESL classes, ministries, after school day care and more is arranged. There are even free government daycare programs in California.

Get information and referrals to other government programs, both federal and state of California. Or learn about San Mateo area non-profits and charities. As the Salvation Army can even help people apply for benefits such as CalWorks, food stamps, and more.

Free Christmas, Thanksgiving, and seasonal resources

Seasonal assistance is extensive. It includes holiday programs such as Christmas and Thanksgiving food boxes and meals. Christmas toy and gift distribution is offered for children too. Another holiday program is Adopt-A-Family, Teen, and/or Senior. The Angel Tree is a program that can allow children in San Mateo to get a gift, winter coat, or other items. Lastly, the Back to School supplies resource offers backpacks full of supplies and items.

Many San Mateo programs rely on volunteers and generous donations from the community. So contributions are always welcome by the Salvation Army, and all items support local community efforts.





Salvation Army Centers in San Mateo County

There are a few locations that residents can turn to for (1) emergency assistance (2) long term support or even (3) low cost items at the Family Store. Each is below.

  • Belmont Salvation Army Social Services Unit, 1215 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, California 94002-1902, 650-595-7400
  • 1030 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA 94404-1604, call the center at 650-286-3300
  • Half Moon Bay Social Services Unit, El Granada, P.O. Box 1089, El Granada, California 94018-1089, main telephone 650-726-9071 ex.224
  • 525 Clinton Street, Redwood California, 94062. For social services, call 650-368-8662
  • 90 Northridge Drive, Daly, California, 94015
  • Mid Peninsula corps center, 621 Magnolia Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030-1852, San Mateo County, contact phone number 650-259-2311
  • Redwood City Corps Community Center, 660 Veterans Blvd, Redwood City, CA 94063-1409, call 650-368-4643 for intake
  • South San Francisco Community Center of San Mateo County, 409 South Spruce Avenue, South San Francisco, California 94080-5959, 650-266-4591


By Jon McNamara

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