Shelby County Tennessee Assistance Programs.

Locate information on how to get help from non-profit agencies, churches, and other organizations in Shelby County. In an emergency, get help from churches, charities, government agencies or non-profits that offer financial aid. Find how to apply for rent or mortgage help, free food boxes in Memphis, emergency utility bill assistance, and more. There are also resources in Shelby county including free medical or dental care, gasoline vouchers, free clothes, job placement services, and more. Various groups are committed to helping as many low income and other people in need.

Foreclosure counseling

If you are behind on your monthly mortgage payments or facing a foreclosure filing, contact United Housing Inc. (UHI). Their phone number is 728.6935. The organization, which is partly funded by the United Way, offers Loss Mitigation and Foreclosure Counseling to help homeowners that are facing a foreclosure filing. UHI's offers qualified individuals with free resources and services that can help a family bet current with their mortgage payments. Unfortunately thousands of Shelby County and Memphis Tennessee families have fallen behind, most due to job loss or a mortgage that is resetting. And these circumstances are causing people to seek help. United Housing will assist people in developing a reasonable budget, negotiating with their bank or lender, modify your current loan, and offer solutions to the problem. Find other Tennessee foreclosure programs.

Other HUD approved agencies to contact in Memphis and Shelby County include Frayser Community Development Corp. ((901) 354-9401), Binghampton Development Corporation ((901) 826-6195), Southeast Memphis Community Development Corp (phone (901) 273-2870), and Clearpoint Financial (dial (901) 276-2000). All of these non-profits provides mortgage foreclosure assistance an prevention tactics from a HUD and THDA - approved foreclosure counselor.

Emergency/crisis assistance for bills, housing expenses and more

Some agencies to turn to for crisis assistance include the Salvation Army, United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis as well as the Memphis Catholic Charities.





The Salvation Army runs several assistance programs for families in need of help. The non-profit agency provides information on licensed child care, an on site food pantry and even disaster assistance. In addition, they can help homeless women and their children through the operation of 3 shelters in the Memphis area and they also provide counseling and supportive services. Last, but not least they operates the City of Memphis' homeless intake system and supportive housing hotline. Call the Salvation Army at (901) 543-8586. Or click here for more information.

However, the hotline is where tenants should call for rent help or eviction prevention assistance. There may also be grants for paying utility or air conditioning bills. While the Salvation Army is a partner, residents need to dial (901) 415-2790.

Catholic Charities partners with other local churches and non-profits to offer aid. One of their primary partners is St. Peter Ministries and the so called Fig Tree program. This is a resource that assists Memphis families in crisis with financial assistance, referrals to other agencies, and food. Specifically, some of the assistance can pay for rent, clothing, utility assistance, prescription medications and eye exams. You can call St. Peters Ministries at 722-4711 to learn more, or click here for additional information.

Another Shelby County resource is United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis. This center offers social service programs and aid including emergency assistance food, furniture, rent/utilities, free clothing, holiday food baskets, household products, Christmas toys and disaster relief. Also provides child care assistance with transportation and other aid. The non-profit facility can be contacted at (901) 323-4993.

Neighborhood Christian Center (phone number (901) 881-6013) provides Shelby County and Memphis Tennessee residents with utility bill help as well as rent programs. The financial aid is available in the form of money raised from donations, or there may be grants, but all funds will be limited and is focused on solving a short term emergency.

The churches that are part of Compassionate Ministries also offer many other services, such as free Christmas help from Adopt-A-Family or assistance for females and single parents from Women Empowered to Succeed. Other programs from NCC include a food bank, free clothing, and a Baby Store for diapers or formula. Click more information Neighborhood Christian Centers.

Millington Crisis Center Ministry offers services and resources such as prescription assistance, gasoline money and vouchers, used clothing and furniture, groceries, rent and utility assistance, free food, budgeting seminars, debt counseling and referrals. (901) 872-4357




Shelby County CSA - Contact them if you meet income guidelines. The agency provides utility and cooling bill payment assistance to households meeting program income guidelines and other criteria when funds are available for aid. (901) 380-3756

Society of St Vincent DePaul – Churches work together to help those in need. Funding is limited. Apply for money to help pay rent/utility/medical bills or other emergency financial assistance. Food and clothing may also be available. A total of ten different Catholic Churches participate. 8277 Belgrade Place, Cordova, Tennessee 38016, Call (901) 722-4703, or read Memphis St. Vincent emergency assistance.

Clothing and basic needs are offered from non-profit clothing closets and other charity groups. In addition to providing free or low cost clothing, the centers will offer other items including free Christmas assistance, back to school items, baby supplies and more to Shelby County Tennessee families. Some even coordinate job training services. Read more.

Non-profit Referral Programs - The low income, including migrant or seasonal farm workers can get help with rent or utilities. Other referrals are for clinics, discounted prescriptions, or food. Memphis and Shelby families can also learn about government programs such as Head Start for children or SSI disability applications. Dial 901-415-2790 for referrals.

City of Bartlett – Family Assistance Commission – On a once-a-month basis, the Bartlett Family Assistance Commission provides Bartlett residents with non-emergency financial assistance for energy bills, rent, mortgage, and occasional home repair. Must submit an application with income verification for all members of the household and income guidelines must be met.

A home visit will be conducted.  A vote of the commission needs to occur. This assistance is for residents inside of the Bartlett City Limits only. Zip code is not a determining factor.  6400 Stage Rd, Bartlett, TN 38134, call (901) 385-6449.

Cash loans in Shelby County - Dozens of lenders provide money for paying bills. Any loan will normally be less than $1000, but the funds can help pay for food, housing (both rent and mortgages), emergency medical needs or prescriptions, and much more. Both non-profits and private companies offer funds. More on emergency loans in Memphis.

The Shelby County Ryan White Part A Program is only for patients with HIV / AIDs. They may receive dental care, prescription medications, free home delivered meals, medical care, and emergency financial assistance, among other services. One time funds can be used to pay for rent, food, transportation or a utility bill. 1075 Mullins Station Rd, Memphis, Tennessee 38134, call (901) 222-8277.





South Memphis Community Office – This office provides referrals and assistance with other MLGW bills, services and programs. 2935 Lamar Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38114. (901) 544-MLGW

Memphis Area Legal Services - Provides low cost or free legal advice and representation in selected non-criminal matters. The legal aid is targeted at elderly and low-income people in the Shelby County region, and legal areas covered include consumer issues (such as consumer contracts and warranties); loan, credit, and collections issues (including running a monthly bankruptcy clinic); legal problems with utilities and disconnections, as well as public benefits or housing assistance. 109 N Main St #200, Claridge House, Memphis, Tennessee 38103, call (901) 523-8822

Aging Commission of the Mid-south AAAD focus on meeting the needs of senior citizens, the homebound, and elderly. Numerous assistance programs, referrals, and advice is provided to residents. They include everything from home delivered and free congregate meals to information on free medications from government programs such as Medicare. Information, guidance, and more is available for older Shelby County residents. 2670 Union Avenue Extended, Memphis, TN 38112-4416. Call 901-222-4111, or learn more on Tennessee Aging on Aging.

Navy - Marine Corps Relief Society – Active duty personnel and their families may qualify for a grant to pay bills. Or the Millington Tennessee government organization may offer applicants interest free loans. The funds can pay for rent, energy bills, medications, travel, or security deposits. Budgeting counseling and case management is offered. Call (901) 874-7350.

Second Step Family Crisis Center offers both pro-active eviction prevention and help to the homeless as part of Joy House Transitional Housing. They also offer job placement and readiness programs. Low income families in Shelby County can also get assistance in locating a new, affordable apartment and help in applying for security deposit fee or first months rental assistance. Ripley, TN 38063, dial (731) 635-2138

Wright Transitional House – Runs emergency shelter for single parents, domestic violence, and others. Free food, meals, and other housing support is offered too in Shelby County. 170 Tillman, Memphis, Tennessee 38111, Telephone (901) 526-8403

New moms and dads often need financial help or counseling. Some charities offer free baby stuff. The items provided range from food to diapers, free infant formula, cribs, and some even have car seats. The goal is to ensure the newborn, as well as the parent, adapt to the new member of their home. Find details on Shelby County baby programs.

Memphis Housing Authority can help people find and get placed into low income and/or subsidized housing units. There are a number of rent-assisted public housing units and apartments in Shelby County. The agency can also help people apply for section 8 vouchers and other assistance programs. 700 Adams Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38105. Call (901) 544-1100, or read more.

Shelby County area transitional and low income housing - A couple dozen agencies in the region offer everything from very short term shelters to multi-month transitional housing type programs. With the increasing number of homeless and people being evicted in the region, these non-profits provide a valuable service to the needy and low income. Families or individuals that use these resources can access meals, employment assistance, and importantly, help in finding a new home or apartment in Memphis or the county. Continue reading.





Assistance during Thanksgiving and Christmas is often available. While the scope and resources of each program are limited, the low income and working poor families (or children from them) may get free clothes, presents, and food. The charities, as well as churches in Shelby County, want to ensure as many people as possible experience the holidays. Click more Memphis holiday aid.

Shelby County Department of Human Services (DHS) has several local offices. The centers offer information on, and applications to, public benefits. They range from Child Care Services, Families First to food stamps and information on public housing, among other options. More public aid Shelby County.

Friends For Life administers the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program. They can provide help to qualified children living with HIV/AIDS. They may be able to qualify for up to three years of assistance through subsidized housing vouchers and other government support. 43 N Cleveland, Memphis, TN 38104. Call (901) 272-0855.

Shelby County rehousing and eviction prevention programs are offered when funding allows. The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issues funds to the area, and the money can be used to help families in an emergency. Various housing solutions are offered, including free legal aid, funds for back rent or lease application fees, utility connection costs, and much more. Read Shelby County programs for evictions.

Monthly water bills - Seniors, unemployed, disabled, and families with an unexpected financial hardship may qualify for help with paying water bills in Shelby County Tennessee. A program known as Plus - 1 is the primary resource available. Read more on Memphis water bill assistance.

Buffalo Valley Inc. can help with housing problems. Everything from emergency shelter to transitional housing and grants are used by the non-profit. They also help veterans (as part of Patriot Place) as well as single parents with their needs. Learn about low income apartments and other options for the low income in the Memphis region. Click here.

Local churches offer support. Many are listed above, but there are others that operate a Prescription Drug Repository or that coordinate ESL classes for immigrants. Other assistance in Shelby County may include Career Link for finding a job, gasoline vouchers, money for bills, free food pantries, and furniture or clothing. Find help from Memphis churches.

Memphis - Shelby County Emergency Housing Hotline will support mostly families with children. The service can refer qualified callers to everything from local shelters to eviction prevention or sources of funds for one time rent help. Other programs include foreclosure counseling, landlord-tenant mediation, and more. Continue with housing hotline in Shelby County.

Free medical and dental care

Memphis patents can receive free health care from the largest faith based clinic in the nation. Over 50,000 people are assisted every year. Church Health Center Clinic (phone number (901) 272-0003) provides high quality, free or affordable healthcare for working, uninsured or underinsured people and their families across Shelby County. Scores of medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and support staff volunteer their time to ensure the success of the clinic. Some of the health care services offered include medical care, vision and an eye clinic, dental cleanings and care, prescription drugs, counseling, and much more. Click here to locate other medical and hospital bill assistance programs.

Other clinics in the Memphis Tennessee area that will provide health care on a sliding fee scale include the following:

  • Guthrie Center - North Memphis Healthloop Clinic ((901) 515-5400) - Offers pediatric treatment/referral, disease management, and other health care services.
  • Bisson Center - Whitehaven Healthloop Clinic - Provide primary and general medical care. Phone (901) 515-5100.
  • Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic - This Memphis facility offers numerous health care programs. (901) 365-1045
  • Catholic Charities of West TN - They provide a cash grant that can be used to pay form medications. Phone number (901) 722-4787.
  • Find more Shelby County clinics.





Low income assistance

The Shelby County Community Services Agency offers both short term relief for immediate bills, and also provides tools to help people over the long term. The agency partners and coordinates services with local non-profit organizations, other branches of both federal and state of Tennessee government programs, other governmental agencies and citizens' committees. The Shelby County agency plans and carries out programs for low income residents across the county and Memphis.

Among other programs offered by the agency include help for utility and summer cooling bills as well as winter heating bills, energy saving weatherization programs, and food assistance. To give an example of the size of the operation, every year the community service agency helps 13,000 households keep warm in the winter and almost 2,000 households cool their homes during the hot Tennessee summer. Millions of dollars in free food is also distributed to local families. The weatherization assistance program provides energy conserving improvements, free minor home repairs, such as adding insulation and fixing broken windowpanes and rotted windowsills, which lower energy bills for qualified families. Call the Shelby County Community Services Agency at (901) 545-4644 to apply for help or learn more.

Rent and mortgage financial assistance in Shelby County

Memphis based Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) provides struggling, low income renters and homeowners with emergency rent and mortgage assistance. The non-profit offers many other services in Shelby County as well. They range from free scholarships for students and adults from COOL to Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, the MIFA senior companion and home care program, food, and much more. Call (901) 527-0226. Read more on Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association assistance programs.

In addition to the programs noted above, Millington Crisis Center Ministry offers Rent Assistance too. (phone (901) 872-4357). This program provides rental assistance programs for needy Millington residents.

About fifteen different non-profit agencies and locations that employ HUD certified counselors are available to help Shelby County individuals and families either stop a foreclosure, or to get back on track with paying their home loans. More on Memphis foreclosure prevention.

In addition to the regional Memphis and housing programs listed on this page, a number of other churches, charities, and not-for profits offer rent help, assistance with security deposits, and they operate across the city and Shelby County. All told thousands of people receive assistance every year and are able to remain in their homes and apartments. Read more on Memphis rental assistance.

Debt assistance and reduction programs

Some of the organizations located in the Memphis area and that serve residents include Consumer Credit Counseling Service ((901) 323-4909) and ClearPoint Financial Solutions (901) 276-2000. Work with mortgage and debt counselors. They can negotiate with your mortgage servicer, credit card company, or other creditors. Learn more on credit card hardship programs.

In addition to those two credit and debt counseling agencies above, Memphis is supported by several other not for profit organizations. Clients can receive free advice and counseling on a number of matters, including mortgage delinquency, budgeting, and methods for dealing with payday loans and credit card debts. Click here for more details on all of the credit counseling services administered.





Memphis and Shelby County food pantries

Some of the churches, food pantries, and charities to turn to for free food include St John's United Methodist Church ((901) 726-4104), New Bethel Temple ((901) 327-8515), St. Patrick's Church ((901) 527-2542), First Church - Memphis (phone (901) 240-5682), and the Trinity Community Coalition Outreach ((901) 786-1220).

There are many other non-profit food banks. Not only may they help in an emergency, but volunteers can also help very low income families in other ways. Whether it is applications to SNAP food stamps, a free holiday meal, or WIC vouchers, resources are offered. Get information on other food pantries in Shelby County.

Head Start resources for children

Shelby County Head Start can offer children, up to age 5, with care. The government funded program will help prepares children for school through physical and psychological testing, can offer them both dental, health and vision screenings, information for parents, and speech therapy. The main office is in Memphis TN. (901) 922-0700

City of Memphis

There are a few other organizations that focus just on helping the residents of Memphis. Read more about these services and resources.

By Jon McNamara

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