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Assistance programs Reno and Washoe County.

Low income families and those in an emergency can get financial assistance in the Reno area. Find how to apply at churches, charities, and non-profits in Washoe County for housing help, such as grants for paying rent, mortgages, or a security deposit. There is also job programs, free food or medical care, school supplies, affordable dental cleanings and other resources available to struggling families in the Reno area.

All sorts of long term and emergency financial aid programs are available. Resources help the disabled or elderly. There is emergency financial help for single parents or mothers as well as free stuff such as Christmas gifts for kids. Or learn about programs that help pay debt, including non-profit credit counseling services as well as legal aid. Many resources are available in the Reno Nevada region.

Organizations that offer financial help with bills and expenses or free stuff.

There are several organizations and programs in northern Nevada, including Reno and Washoe County, that provide families and individuals with financial help or free items. Some of the organizations are listed below, and include:

Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and the St. Vincent's Programs can be reached at (775)-322-7073. This organization, which helps people of all religions and faith, supports community members in need. They have many different programs, as well as a wide variety of resources including a dining room, a food pantry and affordable housing. Other services and programs offered include prescription drug vouchers, free clothing, bus vouchers, apartment starter kits, baby supplies, work permits, diapers and toiletries.

The organization will also provide referrals to other local charities and service agencies for specialized or additional assistance if and when it is needed. They partner with many local groups throughout Washoe County Nevada. One is the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Reno.

Catholic Charities is currently serving record numbers of people and families so the demand for their services is very high and resources are limited. The St. Vincent's Dining Room serves an average of 16,000 meals each and every month. Another key program, the St. Vincent's Food Pantry of Washoe County, gave away 1.8 million pounds of food just last year to those who need help. Hundreds of lower income, hungry, homeless and desperate people use these resources every day. Click here for more information on other Reno Catholic Charity services.




Another place that people can turn to for aid is the Salvation Army (dial 775-688-4555 1931, or the address is Sutro St. Reno, NV 89512). The number of people and individuals contacting the agency and looking for help has more than doubled from last year. People are coming in to register for food boxes and groceries, asking for funds for energy bills, emergency food boxes and clothing vouchers.

Thousands of local people who lost their jobs, and some who may have even lost their homes, are seeking assistance for the first time in their lives. So the type and profile of the person who is seeking help has changed. Some of the people who need aid were even donors in the not so distant past, and they now they find themselves on the other side needing help.

Some of the programs offered by the Salvation Army include shelter, housing and rental assistance, vision, health care, and dental referrals. They also have free back to school supplies in Washoe County, emergency food vouchers, clothing vouchers, utility bill assistance, diapers, Christmas toys from Angel Tree and funds for security deposits. Read more Reno Salvation Army assistance.

Rent assistance, help for utilities, grants, and other financial aid in Washoe County

City of Reno - Housing Authority - This local government agency provides housing and rent assistance and subsidies for paying rent and utility bills. Subsidies are also provided for privately owned apartments, condos, houses and mobile homes in the local community. The location is also the local Nevada 8 section 8 housing agency. More on section 8 in Nevada, or dial 775-331-5138.

Tahoe Family Solutions (this was formerly Children's Cabinet at Incline Village) - A limited area of Washoe County and Reno Nevada can get help from this non-profit. The FRC offers low to moderate income clients, the unemployed and working poor who reside in the following zip codes: 89450, 89451, 89452, and 89402, emergency financial assistance. Apply for help for paying your rent, health care and prescriptions, and maybe even energy bills, when funding is available.

Senior citizens and the elderly can contact the City of Reno assessor. Dial 775-328-2200. Believe it or not, but the city may be able to provide property tax and rent relief to senior citizens in the area.

In addition to the property tax help help above, there are also other options in the County. Consultants, credit counseling agencies, and financial aid can all be used to help pay real estate taxes. Homeowners can challenge an assessment or talk to the local government for help. Find a list of programs to help pay property taxes.





State of Nevada - Department of Health & Human Services (DWSS) - Division of Welfare & Supportive Services. They run the energy assistance program, called EAP for short. It may be able to assist low-income households and families in the region with their energy costs. Eligible households will be awarded cash grants and/or financial assistance once each program year. Apply during the hot summer months for the EAP program. Call (775) 684-7200 or 1-866-846-2009

Washoe County Social Services - The county provides cash and public assistance to families across Reno and Washoe County. Some of the programs include rent assistance, shelters, food from SNAP, and EAP utility bills. They also help with Medicaid or Medicare applications as well as grant money for disabled people. A number of other resources are offered too. Learn more on Washoe County public assistance.

Community Services Agency Development Corporation - Several programs are offered by this community action agency. Among them include the

  • Energy Assistance Program (EAP). The Nevada Energy Assistance Program assists low to moderate income eligible Nevadans with the cost of paying for their home energy bills and expenses. Qualified households receive a one-time per year cash benefit/grant that is paid directly to their utility company.
  • The Weatherization Assistance Program is free in Washoe County. The purpose of the weatherization  is to assist income-eligible persons reduce their utility and energy bills by providing various energy conservation measures.
  • Head Start provides dental and medical care, as well as meals, food, and preparation for children.
  • Help finding a job. The community action agency also offers career assistance services which are are designed to help clients find employment as well as improve skills to maintain employment or find a better job. Services offered include resume and cover letter development. Other programs include Dress for Success, Computer Basics, Interview for Success, and Workplace Conduct.
  • Information - Learn about local charities as well as federal government and state of Nevada assistance programs.
  • Financial help for disadvantaged - Whether single mom, or elderly or disabled, there are grants and other forms of support from Community Services. A major focus is on mothers and their children. Continue with emergency financial help for single mothers.
  • Loan programs - Some Washoe County families may not qualify for financial aid, but they still need short term help. there are other sources of funds, including unsecured personal loans for paying bills.

Call the Community Services Agency Development Corporation at (775) 786-6023.

Reno Cancer Foundation can support cancer patients and their families. Call 775-329-1970. When resources allow the non-profit can offer limited financial assistance and cash grants to needy and uninsured cancer patients. Any type of financial assistance is designed to help with basic living costs including rent payments, emergency food, insurance costs, and transportation to appointments.

The Give Hope Foundation can provide aid for children with a serious illness. The family can receive housing assistance, including rent or mortgage payments. Or get help paying for travel expenses related to treatments and uncovered medical bills. Call 775-329-4673.

Find how to get holiday and Christmas help in the Washoe County area. Whether it is a toy, free gift, or basket of food, there is assistance available. Charities offer Adopt a Family and/or Angel Tree and other programs to ensure children get the gifts and toys they request. More on free Christmas assistance in Washoe County.

Charities, non-profits, and other housing programs exist in Reno and Washoe County Nevada. Get additional details on Reno rent assistance agencies and other centers across the county. All of these may offer short term rent or security deposit help.





Homeless Prevention and Relocation Assistance programs are offered. Agencies such as WAHC may have government funds to pay limited amounts of back rent, storage costs, or moving expenses (as well as lease application fees). Financial Guidance programs for free budgeting, income, and debt advice are also offered for tenants, the homeless, or homeowners. More on Washoe County Homeless Prevention Assistance.

Volunteers of America Northern Nevada operates numerous housing and rent assistance programs in Washoe County and Reno. Services range from emergency shelter, transitional housing, to rent help and eviction prevention. Housing can also be coordinated for individuals considered seniors, the disabled, and veterans.

Help for the homeless, and people on the verge of eviction, is always a focus of VOA. Another goal is to rapidly rehouse individuals into affordable homes or units. The northern Nevada Volunteers of America is part of the non-profit nationwide network. Read more on housing from VOA in Nevada.

Housing from ReStart - The agency works to prevent evictions and homelessness in Reno and Washoe County. Some examples of the services available are below. All aid is limited, comes with restrictions. Income limits and other conditions are in place.

  • Homeless programs - There are shelters and transitional housing units in the region. Case management, job training and other support is offered. When ready to move into a new, low income home or apartment, then grants may be offered for a security deposit or paying first months rent.
  • Eviction prevention - Those with a notice from their landlord may receive emergency rental assistance. This may be offered as a loan. Other programs include credit counseling, financial literacy and more.
  • Housing resources are offered for the disabled, seniors, and others.
  • Everything from direct financial aid to counseling, low income housing and apartments are administered by ReStart. Learn more on ReStart housing assistance.

Many senior citizens or retirees in Washoe County need financial help. Or they need other support, including companionship, congregate or Meals on Wheels, information on Medicare and other support. There are options including senior centers as well as aging on aging offices. Charities as well as the government can help. Even find free medical equipment loan closets near you.

Children and Adult Services - This is one of the main Washoe County and Reno government organizations to call for help. They can either sign people up for services, or refer a resident to another local program or non-profit. Some of their resources include health care, including HCAP Medical Program and Medicaid. A few eviction prevention and rental assistance programs are offered. Low income families can also look into cash assistance and government grants. Read more Children and Adult services.

Family Resource Centers offer a number of emergency assistance programs to Reno, Washoe County, and surrounding areas. The agency has multiple offices in the county as indicated below. Some of the aid offered includes funds for utility and heating bills (from EAP); basic needs such as an emergency food pantry and vouchers for Good Shepherd. There may also be free baby food for low income parents.

Long term support is available from the centers as well, such as job search assistance; referrals for needed services; home visits; Nevada Check Up and welfare applications; and free information on senior services. This can help the family increase their income or pay down their debts.

Applicants will be assigned to a case manager, who will help them apply for various assistance programs, provide job training, self-sufficiency, and more. Other programs include free food, immigration services, transportation assistance, and ESL classes. Clients come from all backgrounds, including senior citizens or the disabled in Washoe County. They also work with other agencies, such as Catholic Charity in Washoe County.

  • 1950 Villanova Drive, Reno, Nevada 89502, call 775-321-3185 or 775-321-5037
  • O'Brien Middle School, Reno, NV, 89506, phone (775) 677-5437
  • 921 12 th St., Sparks, NV, 89431, dial (775) 353-5733 for intake
  • Sun Valley Neighborhood Center, Sun Valley, Nevada, 89433, main phone (775) 674-4411
  • Other services are available as well. Read more Washoe County Family Centers.

Low income housing and shelters are located across the Reno Nevada region. The non-profits that run the programs will offer families, single parents, and others that qualify with a place to stay over the short term. In addition the individual can access self-sufficiency type programs, including information on job training, hot meals, and help in locating an affordable rental unit, among other services. More on transitional housing services Washoe County.







Free clothing closets, furniture, school supplies and thrift stores - Any family, no matter their income, age, religion, or whether they are immigrants or not, can use these programs. Everything from clothing for work or an office, free school supplies, work or school uniforms and even birthday gifts may be provided. There are also free furniture banks for appliances, beds, mattresses, and other stuff. Referrals and case management is also coordinated from free clothing closets, furniture and school supplies in Washoe County.

Prescriptions and free medical care

While the program does focus on senior citizens, others may be able to get support from C*A*R*E* Chest of Sierra Nevada. The agency may be able to provide for the payment of emergency prescriptions on a limited basis to needy in the community. Call 775-829-2273

Community Health Alliance - Medical and dental services are offered on a sliding fee scale, so you pay what you can afford towards medical bills. The community clinic offers primary dental and medical care for adults, families and children by appointment and walk-in. They also take all Medicare and Medicaid.

The clinic also has a laboratory, pharmacy, and x-ray services on site for the low income, and Women's Health Connection. Reno Nevada based. Phone: 775-329-6300. CHA's Locations are as follows:

  • Wells Avenue Medical & Dental Health Center, 1055 South Wells Avenue, Reno, NV 89502
  • Neil Road Medical Health Center, 3950 Neil Road, Reno NV 89502
  • Outreach Health Center for the Homeless, 335 Record Street, Suite #254, Reno NV 89512
  • Sun Valley Health Center, 5225 Sun Valley Boulevard, Sun Valley NV 89433
  • Sparks Medical  & Dental Health Center, 2255 Oddie Boulevard, Sparks NV 89431
  • Center for Complex Care, 330 Crampton Street, Reno NV 89502
  • Prescription drug assistance programs can be arranged too. There are vouchers, discounts, free medications for the uninsured, and even other non-traditional resources including details on websites that help people get free medications.

Saint Mary's Sun Valley Clinic - The center offer a comprehensive menu of primary and preventative health care and education to children and adults in the Washoe area. Services and medical care offered include primary, non-emergent health services such as immunizations, well-child exams, or specialty gynecology. The free medical clinic also arranges for X Rays, developmental pediatrics, and endocrine clinics for established patients. Other care also provided includes preventative health screenings, medication/pharmaceutical assistance and education as well. Call (775) 674-5437 or (775) 770-3000 for an appointment.

South Dental Clinic - Get access to free General Dentistry, extraction, teeth cleaning for the low income or uninsured and Dental Hygiene. Call 775-825-6702

Foreclosure prevention and housing counseling

A local Reno branch of the NID - Housing Counseling Agency is in the area. This national non-profit organization is HUD approved, and can offer foreclosure intervention counseling, mortgage default counseling, first time home buyer services and assistance,as well as  reverse mortgage counseling. The HUD approved housing counselors are NeighborWorks certified, and offer most services at no cost.

The agency can offer foreclosure counseling to consumers as well as provide referrals and information on other non-profit agencies, public agencies, government mortgage programs and faith based organizations. Click here for more information on NID-Housing Counseling, or dial  510 268 9792 or 775-322-5695.

Debt reduction and credit repair

Whether you need additional housing assistance, general debt reduction assistance or foreclosure help, ACCC (or Consumer Credit Affiliate) is another option for you. They have helped thousands of local individuals get out of debt, providing support for helping them buy their first home or save for retirement.

Mortgage and foreclosure assistance is also provided. The housing and credit counselors can help you design a realistic spending and savings plan, reduce debts, and save your home. There is also help for Reno NV families with car payments, medical debts and more. Telephone - 800-769-3571 or 775-337-6363





Food banks, free pantries, and distribution centers

There are dozens of food banks, pantries, churches, and charities that can provide free food to families in the Reno and Washoe County area. There are groceries, surplus commodities, hygiene supplies and other items. Food banks operate across Nevada. Find a location near you below.

  • The Bridge Church - Reno Nevada, call 775-323-7141
  • Community Assistance Network - phone 530-283-0262
  • Sparks Christian Fellowship - Limited food is offered. Sparks Nevada based, and call (775) 331-2303.
  • Desert Springs Baptist Church - Free food is offered on Saturdays. Phone 775-746-0692
  • Grace Church- Reno (phone 775-747-9000, ext. 290) provides food, groceries, and is a great place to turn to for information on local charities, non-profits, and government programs.
  • Faith Lutheran Church, which is located in Reno but serves all of Washoe, offers a food pantry. 775-747-3246
  • The Reno Nevada St. Vincent's Food Pantry is the largest in the state and helps hundreds of families per day. The non-profit can be found at 500 East. Fourth Street Reno NV 89512 (775)322-7073.

There are other food banks and soup kitchens in the county. Find an extensive listing of additional Reno area free food pantries and distribution centers.

By Jon McNamara

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