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Assistance programs Boston and Suffolk County Massachusetts.

Find how to apply for financial assistance in Suffolk County. Grants or loans can be used for paying household expenses including back rent, heating or energy bills, security deposits, gasoline or transportation for work, health care bills and other expenses. Charities in the greater Boston area also offer free stuff, including heating oil; Christmas toys; winter clothes; bus passes; or school supplies or backpacks.

The low income and struggling families in Boston can also receive assistance to stop a foreclosure or enter into a homeless prevention program for their housing needs. Households can also find how to stop a shut off of heat, electric or utility service. Or get low cost loans for buying a home or paying for the expensive housing in the Suffolk County region.

Get financial help paying your bills, expenses, and other help from ABCD

The Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) offers Boston and Suffolk County residents several ways to get financial assistance with bills, rent, housing help, health care, and even help finding employment. Call 617.357.6012 to learn more about resources and programs they offer, or to apply.

  • Heating and fuel assistance is offered to help keep low income and/or elderly households warm. The ABCD Fuel Assistance program helps annually more than 15,000 low income households in Boston, Newton, and Brookline as well as across Suffolk Coiunty pay their home fuel and heating bills during the heating season. There are income criteria in place. This program can even provide utility and heating bill assistance to clients whose heat or energy costs are included in their monthly rent. Applications are accepted from November through March at ABCD's Central Office or at any of ABCD location. Call 617.357.6012 for more information. Learn more on stop a shut off of heat or utility service.
  • Or try the community action agency free Energy conservation program to reduce utility bills. Various studies show that if you try to save energy, and implement some basic conservation improvements to your home, you can typically save 25-35 percent on winter heating bills. For example, significant improvements in wall and attic insulation, air sealing, weather stripping, and heating system repairs all help low-income households stretch limited resources through New England’s long, cold winter months.




    The free services below are available to eligible families and individuals who live in Boston, Brookline and Newton neighborhoods with additional help provided from the Department of Energy, NStar, and Keyspan. The goal is to reduce a household’s energy or heating bills.

    • Weatherization: This energy saving program was created to help keep the heat in your home, and therefore lower your energy bills, through free improvements to your home including insulation of walls and attics and weather-stripping throughout. Those people who heat with electric or oil may receive improvement to your home, at no cost, totaling up to $6,000. The total dollar amount of upgrades can even be higher, as through a NGRID Gas sponsored weatherization program, those with gas heat may receive additional energy conservation measures totaling $4,500.
    • Heating System Repairs / Replacements Program: Replacement or repairs of heating systems in emergency no-heat situations are possible for most homeowners and, in some cases, even tenants of apartments. ABCD can provide free services to those in need. Replacement of a heating system will be considered for inefficient or inoperable boilers or furnaces. Find free heaters for low income families.
    • NStar Conservation Action Program (NCAP): The Action for Boston Community Development also continues to receive grants and additional funding from the utility deregulation process to expand its onsite services for energy conservation. The organization analyzes electricity use in low and moderate income homes, then they will counsel clients on reducing their electrical usage, test lighting fixtures and refrigerators for efficiency and replace those units that are inefficient.
  • Employment, debt and money management: ABCD offers workshops, classes, computer labs and other resources to help families gain stability. This is done to help clients save and/or increase their income or education. Find information on increasing income from gig jobs or working from home.
  • The ABCD Health Services Department (phone number above) is strongly committed to providing health care services that are used to maintain the health of low and moderate income residents and communities of the greater Boston area through the ABCD Boston Family Planning Program and several cutting-edge, community-based clinics and public health disease prevention and health promotion programs.





  • Rent and housing assistance is also provided. ABCD also assists walk-in customers and will respond to referrals of families and individuals who are facing evictions, behind in their rent or utility bills, or living in substandard housing, or doubled up and taking shelter with other families. Dial 617.357.6012.
  • Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) has various offices around Boston and Suffolk County, and they are listed below. Each location is staffed with highly trained counselors who can help individuals apply for financial assistance, grants, and other resources. The goal is to help people pay their bills, rent, and housing in the short term, and ensure individuals gain longer term self-sufficiency.
    • 22 Elm Hill Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02121, dial (617) 442-5900
    • 143 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA, 02134, telephone (617) 783-1485
    • 178 Tremont Street, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA, 02111, dial (617) 348-6567
    • 21 Meridian Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02128, telephone (617) 567-8857
    • 295/753 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130, dial (617) 522-4830
    • 10 City Square, Charlestown, MA, 02129, main number (617) 241-8866
    • 535 River Street, Mattapan, Massachusetts, 02126, call (617) 298-2045
    • One Michelangelo Street, Boston, MA, 02113, (617) 523-8125
    • 424 West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127, main number (617) 269-5160
    • 554 Columbus Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02118, (617) 267-7400
    • Call them or stop by for details on emergency programs. Or learn more on programs from Action for Boston Community Development.

Financial assistance for mortgages, rent, energy bills, and other expenses

One of the leading agencies to turn to is Catholic Charities of Greater Boston. The non-profit charity/church organization is a community service center of the main branch of the Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston. The agency helps low income and working poor throughout the area, and the Catholic Charities Greater Boston provides direct service in Dorchester at the new Yawkey Center, which is located in Somerville. They also cover the entire area of Boston Massachusetts, including Dorchester and Roxbury.

Assistance programs, resources and services offered by the non-profit Catholic Charity include rent payment assistance, food pantries, mortgage payment assistance, rental deposit assistance, or heating and electric bill payment assistance. There are also free clothes for the homeless, immigrants or families in poverty as well as gas bill payment assistance, immigration/naturalization legal services, and general free legal assistance. Dial (617) 506 - 6600, or read more Boston Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charity locations are below. Call the office nearest to you for assistance, including food, clothing, diapers, formula, and more. Also receive limited financial help for medications, rent, and energy bills.

  • 76 Union Park Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02118, telephone (617) 542-9292
  • Yawkey Center, 185 Columbia Road, Boston, MA, 02121, dial (617) 506-6600
  • 275 West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127, call (617) 268-9670
  • 55 Lynn Shore Drive, Lynn, Massachusetts, 01902, dial (781) 593-2312
  • 275 West Broadway, Boston, MA, 02127, main number (617) 268-9670
  • 185 Columbia Road, Boston, Massachusetts, 02121, (617) 506-6600

Another local community action agency is the Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc., which can be reached at (617) 884 - 6130. While they cover all of Boston, they have specific programs targeted at Chelsea, Revere, East Boston, and Winthrop. Referrals and support is provided to other towns as well.





They offer qualified individuals with energy conservation improvements, weatherization programs, and mortgage and housing payment assistance. In some cases the funds will come in the form of a loan and in others it is a partial payment. Other needs met include rent payment assistance, housing search and information, foreclosure prevention services, electric bill payment assistance, gas and heating bill payment assistance, and financial counseling. More on Community Action Programs Inter-City.

The Salvation Army has various offices and locations around Suffolk County, including the South End, Chelsea, Pittsfield, and other spots. They offer a host of assistance programs to Boston and Suffolk area families including those below. Or click here for more details on the programs as well as the addresses of the Salvation Army centers in Suffolk County.

  • Food assistance - Free food, groceries, and nutritious items
  • Rent and mortgage payment assistance - Avoid an eviction or foreclosure
  • Help for utility bills - Funds for paying your heating, gas, and water bills
  • Health care - Vouchers for prescription medications and other medical needs
  • Shelter - They have an onsite shelter and offer information on low income housing. Find more on Boston low income housing.
  • Basic needs - This includes free Christmas toys or meals (Adopt a Family), Thanksgiving dinner, winter clothes, back to school supplies, free furniture and more.

Call one of the agencies at 617-542-5420 to learn more. Or read more on Boston, Suffolk County, and Cambridge area Salvation Army assistance programs.

Allston / Brighton APAC provides fuel assistance and in some cases rental assistance. They also have job programs, employment counseling, social service, and other aid. Phone (617) 783 - 1485. Find additional help for heating bills, including how to get free heating oil.

Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (ESAC) provides provides home rehabilitation programs, senior housing information and referral, free legal aid, counseling, and more. They can also help with furnace or roof repairs. Click here to find additional legal aid programs in Massachusetts. They are located in Jamaica Plain.

Department of Housing and Community Development – This government agency runs the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This federal government created program offers funding to senior citizens, disabled, and the low income. 100 Cambridge Street, Suite # 300, Boston, MA, 02114, phone (800) 632 - 8175

FamilyAid is a state supported and city of Boston organization that focuses on housing and homeless issues. The staff from the agency will first try to help stop evictions by referring residents to emergency rental or grant programs. They also operate Family Shelters and low income apartments in the Boston area.

A collaborative from the organization also works with individuals to rehouse them, and there may be information on resources to pay security deposits as well as self-sufficiency and job training coordinated. More on FamilyAid Boston housing programs.

Free Christmas, Thanksgiving, and holiday assistance is provided by non-profits, churches, and charities. Low income, unemployed, senior citizens, and the children of Suffolk County can all get help. Receive assistance including meals, Turkeys, Christmas gifts, toys, clothing, and more during the holidays. Get more details on free Christmas and holiday help in Middlesex and Suffolk County.

Non-profit funds for paying back rent and security deposits may be available, based on government funding and donations to partners such as the United Way in Suffolk County. Any type of grant is normally focused on tenants with an eviction notice and some source of income. Any rental assistance is first come and served. Get information on additional rental programs in Boston.

Energy bill assistance programs operate across the county. Of particular emphasis is assisting low income families and senior citizens with paying their heating and natural gas bills. Several non-profit agencies and government programs operate in Boston and across Suffolk County. Programs range from grants and credits to be applied to your account to free energy conservation programs. Learn about Heating System Repairs and Replacement, Fuel Assistance, money for heating oil, and much more. Continue with Boston heating bill assistance.







Assistance from charity organizations - In total, about 15 centers are located around the greater Suffolk County and Boston Massachusetts area. Programs are administered by the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and other agencies. Financial assistance for bills and expenses can be provided regardless of someone’s religion, nationality or background. However income restrictions may be in place. Find more Boston charities.

Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness, Inc. – The non-profit organization provides funds for free food, temporary shelter, electric and heating bills to needy Native American families and individuals. The programs focus on assistance that may be needed through the winter season or an emergency basis. In addition, during the holiday season, MCNAA may be able to mail gift certificates to needy individuals and families so they can use them at grocery stores. (617) 642 - 1683

Clothing and non-financial aid programs - Items such as free clothes, winter coats, boots, professional work attire and similar items may be offered by clothing closets in Suffolk County Massachusetts. The non-profit centers may have other goods as well, some of which may be free. This may include school supplies, furniture, personal, hygiene items, baby diapers, and even access to career counseling and job search assistance. read more on free clothes and school supplies in Boston area.

Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services offers homeless prevention as part of Residential Assistance to Families in Transition (RAFT). Funds can help veterans with paying a security deposit, first/last month's rent, or even utility start-up costs. Call the Boston agency at (617) 210 - 5480.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Boston is made up of churches and Venetians. The charity focuses mostly on satisfying basic needs, such as food, clothing, and personal hygiene items. However, the agency can often help people apply for financial aid, ranging from vouchers to medications to funds for heating bills or rent. Shelter, short term housing for single parents, and more is coordinated. Read Boston Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

CMS, or City Mission Society, is a partnership of charities and churches in Boston, Dorchester, and other towns. The goal of the program is to stop evictions and foreclosures and in general prevent homelessness. To meet this goal, there is counseling, grants to pay back rent in a crisis, landlord mediation, and more. They also operate resources such as Emergency Needs Network and Lift Up for women in Suffolk County. Find details on homeless prevention from City Mission.

During the winter, many low income families, immigrants, and single moms needs assistance with warm clothing. Charities as well as churches work to keep the vulnerable warm. To this end there may be winter hats, boots, gloves, and even scarves offered. Find free winter clothes for low income families.

Housing Consumer Education Centers of Massachusetts has offices across Suffolk County, Boston, and the state for that matter. Emergency assistance can be paid out to low income, poor, seniors, and income qualified families facing a crisis. This can include money to pay rent if faced with an eviction, funds for security deposits, utility costs and more. Landlord/tenant mediation may be offered as well as information on transitional housing units in the community. Assistance is offered for the homeless too. 125 Lincoln Street 5th Floor, Boston, MA, 02111, dial (617) 425-6700.

Emergency homeless and eviction prevention services assist both homeowners and tenants. If the family has a source of income, then the state or agencies in Boston will try to help the client address the crisis using the following.

  • Money is available for everything from heating bills to rent or water costs, as funding levels allow.
  • Single mothers as well as DV victims can be placed into short term housing.
  • Case management will get the resident back on track to stability.
  • Other resources are also available More on homeless prevention in Suffolk County.





New England Center for Homeless Veterans – Provides assistance to homeless veterans or those facing eviction. They may receive medical care and/or mental health services. There is also information on job training, employment and help for locating permanent housing. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) provides housing search assistance in Suffolk County. Other aid includes financial assistance for paying rent, moving, utilities, transportation, and security deposits. Loans may be available for these needs as well. The agency also helps with applying for VA and public benefits. Address is 17 Court Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108, (617) 371-1800

Suffolk County and city of Boston free back to school supply giveaways take place each year. Students can be given free backpacks, notebooks, writing material and other goods. There may also be haircuts, books, laptops, clothes for the school year and other educational material. More on free school supplies in Suffolk County and Boston.

The Second Step and the Liz Kirsch Opportunities Fund of Newtonville can help victims of domestic violence. Free food, legal aid, clothing and help for bills, such as rent or utilities, may be offered. Emergency aid is offered to those applicants that qualify. Phone - (617) 965-2538

Trustees of Charitable Donations has once in a lifetime grants for emergency needs. Funds, or a forgivable loan, may be issued for paying rent or other bills. They also help with utilities, medical expenses, transportation, and more. Resources are limited. (617) 635-3692

Department of Transitional Assistance offers a financial support service known as Family Shelter. This is an Emergency Assistance program for eviction and homeless prevention in Suffolk County and Boston. Help may be available for paying back rent or the security deposit fee on a new low income apartment. Or get referrals to legal aid to prevent an eviction as well as case management. Centers are at.

  • 1010 Mass Ave., Boston, Massachusetts, 02118, (877) 418-3308
  • 2201 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA, 02119, dial (877) 418-3308

Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, Inc. can offer ongoing rental assistance to those who are at-risk of becoming homeless, are currently receiving public assistance, or who are going from homelessness into an apartment. Case management and other government benefits are offered too. They are also jnvolved in section 8 housing vouchers and rent subsidized apartments. 125 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA, 02111. Dial (617) 425 - 6756 for an appointment.

Water bill payment plans and discounts - Families who are faced with a shut off of their water or sewer service may be able to qualify for financial aid. Senior citizens and disabled families may qualify for discounts. Read more on all Boston water bill assistance programs.

Government cash assistance - Families in Boston and anywhere in Suffolk County can apply for public aid and government sponsored programs. Examples of what is offered ranges from Fuel assistance, free food, SNAP, and low income housing/rental assistance. Thousands of low income families and seniors receive grants and support every year. Get information on public assistance programs in Suffolk County.

Neighborhood Service Centers are disbursed across Suffolk County. There are several, including in South and East Boston, Dorchester, Chinatowns, and other regions. The programs vary by location but can include the following.

  • Adopt a Family may have free Christmas meals or presents for children.
  • Income tax help.
  • Grants for paying heating or utility bills, rent, or deposits.
  • Many other services such as youth programs, clothing, weekend snacks for children, job placement and more. Find more information on Suffolk County Neighborhood Service Centers.

Discounted heating oil is offered in the Boston region and county. While it is not free, you may be able to save significantly on your heating oil by joining a cooperative formed by Laconia Consortium (Phone (781) 862 - 1943), the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance (phone (617) 524 - 3950), or one formed by Oil Buying Network (800) 649 - 7473. All of these organizations offer members lower prices on their energy bill needs and heating oil. Click here to learn more on these heating oil buying network groups.





Suffolk County assistance programs and agencies that cover all of Massachusetts

Find details on Massachusetts non-profits and assistance programs that help people across Suffolk County. In Boston, get foreclosure counseling, help with heating and utility bills, legal aid, and other assistance.

It can be a challenge to pay heating and other utility bills in Suffolk County. The housing stock is old, the cost of gas and electricity is high, and many families struggle. There are a number of resources out there, and find a variety of national and statewide assistance programs for utility bills.

Senior programs that provide financial aid, meals on wheels and more

One local no-profit that focuses on senior citizens and the elderly in Suffolk County is Kit Clark Senior Services. Call them at (617) 825 - 5000. Among other programs they offer to seniors include:

  • Housing assistance - If you need help paying your rent or money to make a mortgage payment, they may have funding for you.
  • Transportation - For the disabled as well as others for medical appointments
  • Adult day care and nursing.
  • Home delivered meals for the elderly and homebound.

The Howard Benevolent Society, which can be reached at (617) 742 - 2952, can provide reduced prices heating oil as well as grants for paying utility bills and rent. Senior citizens and retirees often struggle with the cost of living in the Boston area. They struggle with heating costs, medical, and it can be a challenge to get around the city and county. They often need home repairs too or help with healthcare. Find a variety of senior assistance programs in Massachusetts.

Foreclosure and free debt counseling in Boston and Suffolk County

Chelsea Neighborhood Housing Services provides housing aid, including repairs and mortgage foreclosure assistance. Dial (617) 889 - 1375.

Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency helps homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage by offering counseling and a loan program. They can also help low income families buy a home in the greater Boston area. Learn more on mortgage assistance in Massachusetts. Or dial (413) 733 - 0999.

Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership, Inc. (phone (800) 272 - 0990) offers rent payment assistance, HUD approved mortgage foreclosure information, mortgage delinquency, foreclosure prevention, and default resolution counseling.

Boston Home Center - This city run site partners with local non-profits and HUD approved agencies to provide solutions to homeowners who are facing a foreclosure, or who are behind on their mortgage. All programs and resources are offered at no-cost. Other services are offered to renters as well, such as landlord and tenant mediation. The organization and its counselors try to prevent evictions and foreclosures in the metro Boston area. Click here for more information on Boston foreclosure prevention.

If the organizations above can’t help you with your housing or debt reduction needs, a number of other organizations are located in Boston and across the region. Most of them are non-profit and offer reduced fees for qualified homeowners and individuals. They assist with mortgages, car loans, credit card debts, bankruptcy filings and more. Find more Boston free credit counseling agencies and programs.

Food pantries, free meals and emergency food vouchers

Contact the following for food, commodities, fruit, and other nutrition. First Congregational Church - Revere ((781) 284 - 4158), Boston based Grace and Hope Mission Pantry (dial (617) 442 - 7579), and Mt. Calvary Holy Church Meal Program (phone (617) 427 - 7596), and Saint Francis House Day Shelter (617) 654 - 1209.

There are several other organizations that offer free groceries, meals, or even applications to food stamps. Or they have soup kitchens or holiday food boxes for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Churches and social service offices often have referrals. Or locate a list of other free food banks and pantries in Suffolk County and Boston.





Free health care

Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center offers health care and medical assistance on a sliding scale, free care, most insurance, Medicare + medicaid also accepted. (617) 822 - 5513

Codman Square Health Center offers discounted and some free medical care. Phone (617) 825 - 9660. They offer child and adult health services, adult medicine, information on Massachusetts prescription programs, family planning, eye care, and more. The clinic is based in Boston.

Great Brook Valley Health Center (508) 852 - 1805, North End Community Health Center (617) 643 - 8000 are other community clinics that offer health care in the Boston and Suffolk County Massachusetts area.

Low income families (with kids or adults) can get other free dental or healthcare services. There is everything from medications to cancer testing, insulin or supplies for diabetics, eye exams, basic check ups and more. Find more info on Suffolk County Massachusetts free community clinics.


By Jon McNamara

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