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Sarasota County assistance programs.

Find a listing of charities and churches, as well as government organizations, that can help the low income in Sarasota County. The financial aid available, as well as basic needs such as free food, school supplies or clothes, can help families pay their bills. There is help for a mortgage or rent payment, assistance with prescription medications or senior care, and non-profits that address other financial emergencies.

Children and the elderly are always a focus too. There may be free Meals on Wheels for the homebound or Christmas toys for kids. Or the elderly can get medical equipment (for rehab or mobility) from medical equipment loan closets or small dollar grants for their bills. Learn how and where to apply below.

Find help for rent, utility bills, and other financial assistance

The Salvation Army Sarasota County as well as Venice or North Port - This non-profit from time to time will be able to provide limited financial assistance. They may have funds they can distribute to people with children to help them pay rent. In addition, some funding may be available to help pay a mortgage, water or utility bills. Applicants must show the ability to make future payments, as this is not a charity program.

The Salvation Army has multiple branches in Sarasota Florida. The location is in Venice (phone 941) 484-6227) as well as North Port Florida (phone (941) 240-5108) and this branch has some of the same rent and housing programs as mentioned above. The Salvation Army centers also offer other support, such as basic needs (food, clothing), holiday meals, gifts, back to school supply giveaways and housing. Continue with Sarasota County Salvation Army programs.

Catholic Charities may also have limited funding for people who have an eviction notice, or who may be behind on a mortgage payment. Call (941) 244-9490. The funds are meant to be a short term solution and once again is not a charity program. A number of other resources may be available for the low income, including transitional housing, food, and medications. The Catholic Charity organization and their partners do what they can to help those in Sarasota who are struggling, regardless of their religion. More on Catholic Charity assistance programs Sarasota County.




Caritas provides financial help up to once per year with utility bills. Qualified applicants can receive assistance with paying utility bills such as electric, cooling, water, and more. 1651 22nd St .Sarasota Florida.

The local community action agency is the Sarasota County Health & Human Services. This non-profit agency both runs some of its own programs, and can refer low income families and individuals to other services. For example, their Community Services Block Grant funding is subbed to The Salvation Army at 954-4673, Weatherization services are through the Manatee County Community Action Agency ((941) 827-2887).

The non-profit also helps with long term stability. Whether it is part time employment for retirees or information on budgeting counseling or job training, help is offered. The agency recommends that people dial 211 to learn about these and other programs.

The Sarasota Social Services can provide extensive amounts of aid. The following programs are run under the GOAL name, which can offer assistance to families who are experiencing short term financial challenges. Resources include water bill service payment assistance, Prescription Assistance Program, as well as Mortgage and Rent Assistance. Centers are located in South Sarasota County Florida as well as North Port. Address is 6919 Outreach Way, North Port, Florida 34287, call 941-429-3700. Or find more Florida public assistance.

Trinity Presbyterian Church is located in South Sarasota County. This Outreach Ministry can help those in need. Access resources including food, gas vouchers, small amounts for utility bill payments twice weekly, and even pet food. Assistance is also offered for the homeless. 4365 State Rd 776, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Venice, FL 34293, telephone (941) 492-6384. Or find more information on Trinity Church programs.





Jewish Family and Children's Service of Sarasota runs a program known as Building Strong Families. This is aimed at preventing homelessness. Some of what may be offered includes counseling, free legal assistance, financial management, and short term rent/financial aid and food assistance. Veterans are a focus too as part of Operation Military Assistance Program.

JFCS has other services as well. One is a free food pantry. Or senior and disabled caregivers can get help, including respite, transportation and information on where to turn to for assistance. The address is 1750 17th St., B-C3, Sarasota, Florida 34237, call 941-366-2224. More on Jewish Family Service assistance programs in Sarasota County

St. Jude's Catholic Church may have emergency assistance for paying utilities. This can include water, natural gas, or electric bills. Rent help may be an option too, though it is limited. 941-955-3934.

Area Agency on Aging can help seniors apply for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program. It is financial aid for home-energy emergencies to qualified, low-income households in Sarasota County with at least one person 60 years of age or older. It can even provide other support such as free fans, repairs of heating/cooling equipment, blankets, and utility disconnection prevention.

The Agency on Aging also helps seniors in other ways. There are tips on how to make retirement savings last, information on enrolling into Medicare, and even SSI grants or loan programs for financial needs. The address is 2285 First Street, Ft Myers Florida, 33901. Call 866-413-5337.

A triage/referral service is available from the United Way of Manasota. They can help qualified residents learn about government benefits. This can include food stamps, section 8 housing vouchers, TANF, and health care resources such as Medicaid. Some of the benefits are run by the state of Florida and others by the federal government or non-profits. Telephone number is 941-308-4357.

Low income housing assistance may be available for a short period of time. Some of the options include transitional housing or emergency homeless shelters. Other government programs, such as section 8, may be available but often have a waiting list. Sarasota County families that use these transitional housing programs will also receive case management and support from social workers. Read Sarasota County transitional housing.

Englewood Helping Hand is a social services agency that provides short-term financial assistance to Englewood residents in need of help. Aid is offered for people including residents of Placida, the Gulf Cove, Rotonda, and Grove City areas of Englewood. Some of the financial assistance offered includes help with prescription medications, free food, rent, electric and water, and referrals to non-profits. Helping Hand is also a Medicaid ACCESS site and food stamp application center. Englewood Helping Hand is a community supported organization. 700 E Dearborn Street, Englewood, Florida 34295-0791, phone (941) 474-5864

Sarasota County Florida families living in poverty or those facing a crisis can apply for free holiday assistance programs. There are a few different options.

  • During Christmas, there are free toys, gifts, clothing vouchers, and food boxes.
  • Easter Baskets may contain food and side items.
  • Free Thanksgiving meals and turkeys are provided by local charities.
  • There are other resources too. Find Sarasota County free holiday programs.





Free basic needs - Clothing banks can provide low income families free items such as school supplies, Christmas assistance, furniture and general clothing. Work or school clothes may be offered. A focus of many of these Sarasota County agencies is on supporting children and the elderly. Some centers may even have information on financial assistance programs or government benefits. Get information on Sarasota free furniture banks, school supplies or clothing closets.

Multiple SVDP churches are located in the county, They include Saint. Peter and Paul, Church of the Incarnation, Epiphany Cathedral and others. Anyone, regardless of religion can get help from the parishes. There may be funds for rent or utility bills. Job or medical transportation can be arranged. Free emergency food boxes are passed out too. There is even a scholarship program for adults. Read more on Society of Saint Vincent Sarasota County.

Sarasota Housing Authority, or SHA, can direct families to low income apartments or public housing. They administer solutions such as section 8. Or residents can get referrals to services such as landlord - tenant mediation, grants for expenses such as security deposits, and more. Clients will be low income families as well as senior citizens in Sarasota County living on a fixed income. Read more on Sarasota Housing authority programs.

Department of Children and Families is the place to contact in order to to apply for government benefits. There are a few offices in the county for the low income, unemployed, and working poor. Some of the resources and public aid offered is below.

  • Medical bill assistance from Medicaid.
  • Cash assistance programs for bills, medical, transition and more. Continue with Florida TCA cash aid.
  • Rental vouchers and subsidies from section 8 vouchers.
  • Medicare can help seniors acquire affordable medication and provide for health care needs.
  • Much more is offered in Sarasota County. Find more information on public aid in Sarasota County.

Help with rent and housing vouchers - Families who are faced with an eviction may be able to receive assistance from a number of churches, charities, and non-profits in Sarasota County Florida. Financial aid may be offered, as well as legal advice, case management, referrals, and assistance in locating affordable housing. More on emergency rent help Sarasota County.

Foreclosure prevention, mortgage help, and debt reduction in Sarasota

Several agencies can provide both debt reduction and foreclosure counseling services.

Credit Counseling Services of Sarasota Florida -This is a non-profit credit counseling / community service that dedicated to providing individuals with professional consumer credit education. This can include free debt reduction programs as well as free confidential counseling and foreclosure prevention programs to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay.

They can help people deal with credit card debts, provide information on mortgage and foreclosure assistance programs, care loans and other support and advice. (941) 316-9600. Learn more on Florida foreclosure assistance programs, including a program specific to Sarasota.





ABCs of Avoiding Foreclosure - This is another non-profit community service organization that is strongly dedicated to delivering professional consumer credit education, debt management plans, confidential counseling, and mortgage help programs to all segments of the community and homeowners in the area regardless of their ability to pay. Call (941) 316-9600.

Assistance is offered to stop debt collectors too. Florida, and the federal government, have laws in place to help families. Counselors give free advice and can even sue a collector. Find information on how to get help from illegal debt collection.

Medical and free health care

A couple options are below. There may be medications, information on diabetes or cancer screenings, diabetes testing/insulin and other free medical or free dental care. Even learn about help for cancer bills.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital also runs a community clinic. People with no health insurance may be able to receive medical care on a so called sliding fee scale. Call (941) 917-6364

North County Health Center ((941) 373-7844) offers Internal Medicine, Pharmacy and Medications, Urgent Care, and Family Practice. Medical bills will also be charged to patients on a sliding fee scale.

Free food pantry, clothing, and other non-financial aid

Angels Attic - Provides a Food Pantry, Groceries, Clothing and household furniture to single mothers or anyone of low income in need of stated services. Sarasota. 941-735-8855

Center of Hope - Offers free food to South County families. Venice Florida. (941) 412-9044

Trinity Presbyterian Church - Provides packaged food and groceries for those in need. Serves residents and families of Osprey, Laurel, Nokomis, Venice, and South Venice Florida only. Call (941) 492-6384

First Christian Church (phone (941) 922-4434) provides emergency can, food, packaged goods and groceries to individuals and families in need of assistance. Phone (941) 922-4434

New Life Worship Center of Sarasota - Food Pantry for the needy in the community. (941) 922-8444





There are several other pantries as well as food banks in the region. They can offer groceries and other forms of support in a crisis. Locate more free food pantries in Sarasota County Florida, and learn about the services they offer.


By Jon McNamara

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