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Assistance programs Santa Barbara County.

Find how to get financial help, and where to apply, in Santa Barbara County below. Charities, churches, and government assistance programs help with back rent, mortgages, security deposits, and utility bills among other costs. The cost of housing is so high in the county and is a focus. Free items can also help families save money, so there is free school supplies, furniture, and even legal aid.

Low to moderate income families often need other financial assistance too. This is why free debt advice is given along with legal aid. Or back mortgage payment help in Santa Barbara County also includes foreclosure counseling. There are even free items for kids or entire homes, including food from pantries or seasonal Christmas gifts. Find details below.

Help with housing, rent, and eviction prevention

Charity organizations, non profits, and other groups in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria will be receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The funds will be used to provide housing or mortgage assistance, prevent evictions, and help the homeless. There is also back mortgage payment help.

Federal government money from the ESG grant and/or Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) will be used to provide financial assistance, counseling, and other services to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. So rent help, and money to stop an eviction will be offered. In addition, money will be used to aid those who are currently experiencing homelessness. The goal is to quickly rehouse and stabilize those families.

The five organizations that will be receiving funds, and that people should contact for assistance, include the Good Samaritan Shelters/Catholic Charities ((805) 965-7045) (collaborative), The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County (phone 805-963-6754); The Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation; Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara County  and also the Peoples Self-Help Housing Corporation ((805) 962-5152). Funds come and go in Santa Barbara County and these agencies may help or offer referrals.

Some of the conditions of the programs include at least 60 percent of the rent assistance and homeless-prevention funds must be spent within two years. However, all funds need to be spent within three years at the latest.




Catholic Charities will be overseeing the prevention side of the rent and eviction assistance program by offering services, that include for example, rent or help with utility bills. Also, Good Samaritan will be dealing with the task of placing homeless families or individuals in short or long term housing and also paying for rental security deposits or a couple months of rent.

Also, the Legal Aid Foundation deals with issues regarding housing discrimination as well as evictions or foreclosures. But the money being provided to them be used to prevent evictions and homelessness by negotiating with landlords on nonpayment of rent issues. Or find other free legal aid from lawyers in California.

The money can also be used in several ways. For example, eligible activities for the federal government funds includes security deposits, rental assistance, utility payments, utility deposits, moving costs, and even hotel/motel vouchers for temporary housing. Also housing relocation and stabilization services are offered, including case management, legal services, outreach, housing search and placement, and debt help and credit repair.

Get emergency financial assistance and cash grants in Santa Barbara County

The following charities and non-profit agencies provide help for bills, rent, other expenses, and can also refer people to federal and California state government programs, as well as local Santa Barbara agencies.

Catholic Charities - In addition to the housing programs mentioned above, Santa Barbara Catholic Charities can also help the low income with offering free food, clothing, energy bill help, and household items in an emergency. They also offer credit and debt counseling services. (805) 965-7045. The numerous Catholic Charity locations include:

  • 607 West Main Street, Santa Maria, California 93454
  • 941 Walnut Street, Carpinteria, CA 93103
  • 903 East Chestnut Avenue, Lompoc, CA 93436
  • 609 East Haley Street, Santa Barbara, California 93103
  • Other resources are available and you can continue reading about Catholic Charities Santa Barbara assistance programs.





Alexander House Foundation - This is a program that offers financial assistance and grants for housing to fixed income seniors and long time residents. Emergency grants are available for paying for rental deposits, moving, dental bills, prescription medications, medical expenses, clothes and food. (805) 966-3665. They even have medications, and find more details on how to get prescription drugs in California.

Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara - This local non-profit agency help with a variety of housing issues. They develops and manage assistance programs for low-income households. Note that most are under high demand and have a waiting list.

Among other resources, they administer the federal Section 8 rental housing assistance program in the private rental market. The organizations can help people deal with late mortgage payments, and offer foreclosure counseling. Also, debt reduction assistance is offered.

They are a HUD-certified comprehensive counseling agency servicing homeowners and renters across the county. Last, but not least, they also administers Mortgage Credit Certificate programs for first time home buyers. Call (805) 967-3402, or learn more about housing authority in Santa Barbara County.

Many families in Santa Barbara also contact the housing authority if they are facing foreclosure. Some of the counseling services may help, or they can offer referrals. Click here for additional California foreclosure and mortgage programs.

Financial assistance with rent and bills from Bringing Our Community Home. This is the formal name of a homeless prevention program being run across Santa Barbara. The goal is stop homelessness across the County.

Some of the financial assistance offered as part of this program includes help for paying past rent due, utility and electric bill assistance, and funds for security deposits. While not offered all of the time, additional assistance may be offered for moving costs, help with locating housing, mediation to help prevent evictions, and legal aid to inform people of their rights. Some Community Home clients may also be placed into transitional housing by the non-profit. The non-profit agencies that run the program are below.

  • Casa Esperanza, 816 Cacique St., Santa Barbara, California 93103, (805) 884-8481
  • Rental Housing Mediation Task Force, 630 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, dial (805) 564-5420
  • Transition House, 425 East Cota Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101, call (805) 966-9668 x112
  • For more information on their resources, continue with Bringing Our Community Home programs.

Santa Barbara Salvation Army - Programs offered can provide emergency financial assistance (rent, electric bill, medications) to qualified individuals and families. The location is also an Energy Assistance and USDA Commodity Distribution site.

Other resources provided include free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts for low income families and children. There is also a back to school supply and uniform giveaway. Case managers can help people find a job in the Santa Barbara region, or they can help individuals apply for government aid such as food stamps or energy bill assistance. 402 South Miller or 211 East Feeler, Santa Maria, California 93454, phone (805) 349-2421, or get more information on Salvation Army Santa Barbara County.





Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People runs a program called People Helping People. This organization provides grants, financial and other assistance. The programs are focused on preventing eviction, helping people maintain utility services, prevent homelessness, and provide food and meals. There are also resources for children, including Christmas meals and dental care.

Additional services provided include grants for emergency rental and utility bill assistance, food/meals, temporary shelter, transportation, household goods, and free hygiene products. 545 North Alisal Road, Solvang, California 93464, dial (805) 686-0295

There are several other locations of PHP (People Helping People) across Santa Barbara County. The services are wide ranging. Emergency food pantries feed families and clients can get help applying for CalFresh. There is financial aid for immigrants, free toys from Fulfill-A-Wish Program, Wellness councseling, and also the Children's Dental Fund. This is in addition o financial help, including for gasoline, rent, or home repairs. Find more details on People Helping People assistance programs.

Santa Barbara County basic needs can be passed out from clothing banks and thrift stores. What may be offered includes vouchers to buy clothing, school supplies, Christmas gifts and toys, and professional work attire. The unemployed, children, and job seekers are some of the main clients. More on Santa Barbara free clothing closets and school supplies.

The Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County administers several social services and emergency assistance programs. The main goal of the agency is to help with short term living needs and assist residents with exiting poverty.

The agency can provide food assistance. This includes a pantry as well as nutritious meals and free snacks to children from low-income families. Seniors from the community can be served congregate meals.

Early Head Start is a federal government sponsored program for low-income families with toddlers and infants under the age of 4. It will help those qualified Santa Barbara families receive education services, food, meals, and other aid.

Referrals to financial support may be offered by the Community Action Commission. This can include emergency funds for paying rent or energy bills, including LIHEAP.

Various job and income programs are offered in Santa Barbara County. Many residents want to learn about ongoing, passive income. There are local workshops for that. As well as side gigs, government job training centers and many other programs out there.

As indicated, overcoming poverty can be achieved. Staff from the non-profit agency can help with activities such as resume review, job search, and assist residents with acquiring new skills.

The non-profit is located at 5638 Hollister Avenue, Suite 230 in Goleta, California 93117. Call (805) 964-8857 for information or referrals to other centers. The organization known as CACSB can also offer low income families, immigrants and the less fortunate other assistance. Click more Santa Barbara County community action agency.

Banks often help homeowners with their mortgage. Or they help low to moderate income Santa Barbara County residents buy a home, pay closing costs, and find an affordable mortgage. Many services are out there. As but one, find mortgage help from Wells Fargo, one of the nations largest lenders.

Family Resource Centers provide advocacy, case management, and a number of education services to promote self-sufficiency. The programs are run from one of five Healthy Start Resource Centers. They are located at the Dorothy Jackson Family Resource Center in Lompoc, in Santa Barbara, as well as the Carpinteria Children’s Project. Families from the community can get linked them to a number of non-profit and federal government resources that help meet their most basic needs, including housing, food, and medical care. Some of the phone numbers are below.

  • Dorothy Jackson Family Resource Center, dial (805) 742-2943
  • Carpinteria, Main Family Resource Center - (805) 566-1619
  • Santa Barbara sites are numerous. They include McKinley Preschool (dial (805) 730-7466), the Adams Elementary School (phone (805) 563-9235), and Franklin Elementary School, call (805) 963-4523.

Low income free holiday programs - Families with children, seniors, and residents living in poverty can get help. There is assistance during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other time-frames as well. Programs include the following.

  • Free presents and Christmas gifts for children.
  • Santa Barbara County pantries and soup kitchens serve Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.
  • The elderly and people in a nursing home can get visitors as well as small presents.
  • Other resources are administered too, including for immigrants and those of different religions. Read more on free holiday and Christmas help in Santa Barbara County.







Assistance for rent and short term housing is provided by several different agencies. An application process is in place, and funding is limited, but there may be government grants, transitional housing or non-profit administered rental assistance for people facing an eviction. Other aid is for deposits or clients can learn about eviction prevention services. Read Santa Barbara County rent assistance.

Energy bill services and help in Santa Barbara

Energy Services/CAC - Offers a couple different utility and energy programs. They run the weatherization program, and assistance is available to help people reduce their energy bills. They also run the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides cash grants for paying utility bills. (805) 964-8857

Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County ((805) 964-8857) is another agency to turn to for utility bill assistance. They can help people apply to federal government programs, and direct consumers with information on how to get help directly from local utility companies. They can also refer people on how to get assistance in dealing with credit issues, including accessing help and assistance programs from debt collectors.

Many families struggle with health car costs too. One area of focus in particular is how to get help from medical debt collectors in California.

Low income medical, free healthcare and dental programs

The Eastside Neighborhood Medical and Dental Clinic provides low income and uninsured patients with basic and preventative dental and medical care. They also offer dental health education for children and families. Among other health care services, the facility offers full dental services which include: dental exams, x-rays, and cleaning. General medical care, including check ups and other health care services, are also provided to Santa Barbara patients. (805) 884-1998

Three other free medical clinics that offer a variety of health and medical care include Medically Indigent Adults ((805) 681-5399), Franklin Public Health Clinic (805) 568-2099), and also the Santa Barbara County Health Clinic (805) 681-5488). All of these clinics provide services to people who are working poor, or who lack health insurance and access to government assistance programs.

These medical centers can offer health and/or dental care to the low income and uninsured, or under insured, on a sliding fee scale. Carpinteria Public Health Clinic, Santa Barbara County ((805) 560-1050) and the Sansum Clinic (805) 566-5080.

Find more Santa Barbara County free clinics and learn about they they can provide assistance with medical or dental bills.

Foreclosure prevention and free debt reduction programs

Consumer Credit Counseling of Santa Barbara is a non-profit, and also HUD approved foreclosure counseling agency. Counselors provide consumers as well as homeowners with free confidential financial counseling. Get advice either in person, by telephone, mail or the internet.

Both credit and housing counselors can assist with developing a monthly spending plan, providing a plan for debt reorganization, obtaining, understanding and correcting credit reports, and offer homeowners counseling on housing/foreclosure issues. The local site also maintains a resource library to assist with many consumer issues such as reverse mortgages, buying or leasing a car, how to get help from debt collectors, consumer fraud, and consumer disputes. Call the Santa Barbara non-profit at (800) 540-2227.





Many Santa Barbara families live check to check. they often find behind on their bills and need assistance with debt. The non-profit above can of course help. But there are other options too. Many banks, lenders, and even DIY steps can be taken. As but one option, read about credit card company debt settlement programs.

Emergency food and groceries in Santa Barbara

Some of the places to either pick up a hot meal, or to call for groceries and other foodstuffs, include the Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara ((805) 564-0093), the Lower Westside Community Center (805) 963-7537, and Catholic Charities (phone number above).

There are several other food pantries as well as soup kitchens in the region. Or families can apply for state of California or federal government assistance programs, such as food stamps or WIC vouchers. Find additional free food banks in Santa Barbara California.


By Jon McNamara

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