Washington DC Assistance and Financial Aid Programs.

Find a listing of agencies, charities, non-profits, government programs, and other organizations that can provide help in the Washington DC area. Receive assistance with everything from paying your rent, to heating and utility bills, free food, counseling for debt and foreclosures, and much more.

Catholic Charities - DCEAF - Southeast Family Center ((202) 574-3442), Capitol Hill Group Ministry (202) 548-4012, Near Northeast Community Improvement Corporation ((202) 399-6900), Marshall Heights ((202) 396-1200), Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ ((202) 723-2542), UPO - Anacostia Community Service Center ((202) 610-0466) all offer the following rent assistance and utility services to residents. The applicant need to be in receipt of an eviction or court or eviction notice, disconnected utility services or cut-off notice, with an emergency situation that is contributing to an inability to pay for their rent or utilities, but with an ability to make future payments for these expenses and the applicant must show a willingness to work with a case manager. (202) 548-4012.

Catholic Charities - ERAP - Southeast Family Center - This non-profit refers families and individuals to the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). The program may be able to help applicants and refer people to locations around the city which provide housing assistance. ERAP may help pay late costs, overdue rent, legal fees and court fees, security or damage deposit, and first month's rent for eligible individuals. Call (202) 574-3442.

Several other Catholic Charity programs provide financial assistance, help for immigrants and minorities, dental care, food, and additional services in Washington DC. Click here.

Center City Community Corporation - This non-profit addresses a residents immediate needs by providing, when available, assistance with food and clothing. Provides referrals for furnishings through Central Union Mission's emergency furniture program. In addition, the agency also assists with mortgage, rent, heating and utility payments for residents of Ward 2 North of the 1100 block of M Street, NW. Call (202) 789-0868





Change, Inc. - The non-profit offers emergency housing assistance, rent, mortgage payment, and utility and heating bill assistance to residents of Ward 1 and Ward 4 in Washington DC. Call (202) 387-3725.

Community Council for the Homeless, phone (202) 364-1419, provides FEMA emergency rent, mortgage, and utility assistance to residents of Ward 3.

Community Family Life Services - Provides weekly distribution of groceries to low-income families in zip code 20001. Also emergency rent and utility assistance is available if someone has a disconnection or eviction notice. Find other emergency utility programs. Learn more. (202) 347-0511

Capitol Hill Group Ministry covers Ward 6. For residents with the means to pay future bills on their own, the non-profit may offer emergency rental assistance, grants for heating or utility bills, funeral help, and transportation. Some clients may be given no interest loans for their housing needs. The location is 1338 G Street SE, Washington DC 20003. Call (202) 544-3150.

Greater Washington DC Urban League - The center provides rent help, mortgage payment and utility bill assistance to families and individuals who are living in the city, including but not limited to Ward 5. They support residents of the District of Columbia through the DC Emergency Assistance Fund. Call (202) 529-8701

Other programs from GWUL include grants for paying water bills from SPLASH and heating bill assistance. The League also addresses employment from the on-site career center, coordinates home buying and free foreclosure prevention, and offers other financial aid. Find help from Greater Washington Urban League.

UPO United Planning Organization community action agency runs several emergency financial assistance and self-sufficiency programs in the District of Columbia. They offer homeless prevention, job training, education, free food, and shelters too.

  • While the goal is to prevent homelessness by offering grants or loans to pay rent, for those that are currently without a place to live a shelter is available. Also get help in locating affordable housing in the Washington DC area and learn about resources to pay a security deposit on an apartment.
  • Apply for public aid such as cash assistance, SSDI disability or food stamps.
  • Employment programs and scholarships are administered as part of their Career Development Services.
  • Many other services are offered by the non-profit United Planning Organization. Click here.

Housing Counseling Services also runs the ERAP housing program, which may be able to help pay overdue housing and rent expenses, late costs, security or damage deposit, court fees, and first month's rent and other housing expenses. Call (202) 667-7006

Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ provides financial help to qualified families in Ward 4. The non-profit offers emergency housing assistance, rent, mortgage payment, or utility and heating bill assistance to residents. There may be funds to stop evictions or help for those with disconnected utility services. The address is 5301 North Capitol Street NE in Washington DC, or dial (202)-723-5330.




Salvation Army - East of the River Initiative - Ward 8 residents only may be able to access emergency rent, mortgage, and utility bill assistance under the DC Emergency Assistance Fund. Another services that is offered, which is in cooperation with Washington gas, may be able to help Washington DC area residents pay their home heating bills through the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF). Call (202) 561-2000

Regardless of what Ward you live in Salvation Army - Social Service Office (phone (202) 332-5000) may be able to provides eligible low income DC residents with assistance. Receive free food, funds for paying rent, prescription medicines, utility bills, clothing, furniture (for those over 60), and transportation. They also run the Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF) for heating bills. Find more Salvation Army assistance programs.

Assistance at the holidays - Whether a low income family needs a box of food or a free gift for their child, or a senior needs companionship or a holiday meal delivered to them, there are charities and churches to try. They offer support at Christmas (in particular free toys for kids), Thanksgiving, Easter, and other key events. Find Christmas and Holiday help in Washington DC.

Shaw Community Service Center (phone (202) 462-6401) provides qualified individuals with job training, career counseling, clothing, and emergency food and commodities, rental help, and heating and utility assistance. Also learn about such services as free heating oil. Read more.

Bethesda Cares is focused on the very low income and homeless. All clients need to go through an outreach process, and examples of what may provided are below.

  • The homeless can look into rehousing, including transitional apartments or grants to pay the security deposit on a new home.
  • Basic needs, including free hygiene items, food, and meals are administered.
  • Health care, including some eye check ups, are part of the MobileMed clinic.
  • Many other assistance programs are provided, including resources from the Hunger Ministry and other charity partners. More on Bethesda Cares assistance programs.

Housing services from Volunteers of America are available. They operate shelters, transitional apartments/homes, and can help with permanent housing placement. The nationwide network supports veterans and seniors, as well as the disabled in Washington DC. Staff may have suggestions on where to get help preventing an eviction as well. More details.

Each year thousands of Washington DC families and residents fall behind on their rent, and face an eviction from their home or apartment. Many more may need help paying a security deposit or first months rent. Click here for a listing of places to turn to for help with rent in District of Columbia.





Debt counseling, housing and foreclosure services

Near Northeast Community Improvement Corporation is a center that provides a wide variety of services and financial assistance to Washington DC residents. Get help in the areas of Debt Counseling, Employment, Income Management, Foreclosure Assistance, Housing, Emergency and Nutrition Services based on customer needs that are determined at the intake assessment. Phone (202) 399-6900. Also read about Washington DC foreclosure mediation.

In addition to the services offered by the non-profit organization, there are other ways for Washington DC residents to get foreclosure help, mortgage assistance, and credit and debt counseling. Find other debt assistance programs, and locate information on foreclosure prevention.

In addition to these programs and resources, a large number of housing counselors area available to people in the DC area. You always want to ideally speak to and use the services of a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified counselor, as many offer free debt reduction and foreclosure counseling services. Find a listing of Washington DC HUD counseling agencies and counselors.

Homeowners in the Washington DC area, including Maryland and northern Virginia, have access to federal government resources too. The mortgage servicer Fannie Mae offers individuals the ability to receive free advice, information on loan modifications and counseling. All of the services are intended to show homeowners can get back on track with paying their home loans. Click here to get details on the center, including hours of operate, phone number, and location.

Washington DC food pantries and non-financial aid

Bread for the City - Provides food and groceries at most once a month to residents of SW, SE and NW Washington, DC who are disabled, elderly, or food can be provided to parents with children between 1 and 17. Call (202) 561-8587.

Central Union Mission - Food Bank may be able to provide emergency nonperishable food to women, men, individuals and families on an emergency one-time basis. In addition, they can provide more long-term food distribution on specific days of the week or month to the following groups: Hispanics, seniors, and single women with children. Call (202) 745-7118

Lutheran Church of the Reformation - Food Pantry, phone number (202) 543-4200, distributes a bag of groceries, which are dry goods, to feed a family of four for up to two days.

Peoples Congregational United Church - The non-profit organization distributes free food and groceries to persons in need only on Fridays but they must have a referral from Answers, Please! or another social service agency in Washington DC. Phone (202) 829-5511

A number of other distribution centers and food banks provide groceries, hot meals, food, clothing, produce, government commodities, and/or surplus food to the low income and others who need help. Find additional Washington DC food pantries and banks.

Community Partnership oversees a number of shelter, transitional housing, and rent assistance programs. Many of the resources are coordinated with other Washington DC non-profits and government agencies. Examples of what may be provide to those facing eviction or the homeless are as follows. Apply for Continuum of Care grants to pay rent from Project H.O.P.E., emergency shelters, and get assistance in locating and moving into a permanent home. Click details.





Free clothing and household goods - There are several churches, clothing closets, and non-profit distribution centers in the city that provide items such as school and work clothing, school supplies, and personal hygiene items to the low income and homeless. Families can also purchase high quality, yet affordable, items at Washington DC area thrift stores. Learn more.

Community clinics

Anacostia Community Health Center (phone (202) 610-7160) - Health care may be offered on a sliding fee scale. Services include a Comprehensive Integrated Delivery System (CIDS) which emphasizes prevention and a patient-centered environment. Includes dental hygiene, internal medicine, OB-Gyn, pediatrics, pharmacy, social services, nutrition, WIC, and supplemental foods.

Bread for the City offer no fee care and includes adult general medicine, pediatrics, free job physicals, and gynecology. Call (202) 265-2400

Columbia Road Health Services offer low cost and sliding fee medical care. The Washington DC community clinics provides primary medical and health care for family practitioners, which includes physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses and injuries, immunizations, health education, laboratory tests, medications and referrals to low cost or free specialists or other local doctors. Call (202) 328-3717.

Washington Free Clinic is another center that provide a wide variety of low cost medical care. (202) 667-1106

Whitman-Walker Clinic - Offers numerous and a wide variety of comprehensive health care, medical evaluations, ongoing primary medical care, and treatments for HIV disease and related illnesses. In addition, the community clinic also provides a dental, eye, Pentamidine (pneumocystis pneumonia), and Hepatitis B clinic. Also operates a pharmacy for the low income. Medical bills are based on a sliding scale.

Other community clinics that can provide low cost or health care on a sliding fee include Community of Hope - Health Center ((202) 232-9022), Fort Lincoln Family Medicine Center (call (301) 699-7700), Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care (phone (202) 483-8196), Unity Health Care ((202) 832-8818).

Medical bill assistance for the uninsured is available in Washington DC. Whether you do not have any health insurance policy at all, or maybe your existing plan doesn’t cover your needs, then several government and non-profit resources may be able to assist. They can provide check ups, medications, cancer screenings, free health care for children and more. An application process is in place for these resources. More Washington DC uninsured medical care programs.

Washington DC dental centers

A large number of community clinics focus on meeting more so called general health care needs. Those locations are listed above. However many people can’t afford to pay their dental bills, or lack dental coverage on their health insurance plans. For these individuals dental clinics in Washington DC may be their best option.





Utility and electric bills

There are many programs that can help Washington DC residents pay their utility bills. They include options and resources from government programs, non-profits, and even the utility companies themselves. Find how to get help with electric bills in Washington DC.

By Jon McNamara

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