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Assistance programs Winnebago County.

Find how to get financial help, and where to apply for assistance, in Winnebago County. In a crisis, low to moderate income families can receive cash grants or free items. The money can help pay for heating bills or rent, free food or clothes (including school supplies) are given from pantries, there is transportation provided as well as other support services. Find charitable assistance programs, funds from churches, and government aid in the county.

Winnebago County agencies also help low to moderate income families increase their income as well as pay down debts or save money. Charities give seasonal relief, including Christmas toys or help keeping the heat on during the winter. Or even learn about applying for grants to pay the bills and as well as other social services below.

Find ways to get financial help with bills, job training, and free legal aid

Two organizations that offer local residents aid include ADVOCAP, Inc., which provides low income and other struggling people with resources, job training, and grants for bills. Another organization is the Winnebago free legal assistance program, which can provide foreclosure counseling and other free advice to families in the area. Learn more about each organization below.

ADVOCAP provides the following programs:

  • Job Training and Tutoring : Adults can receive job skills, computer skills, and free one-to-one tutoring. This is for people who are unemployed, and for adults who need help with reading and basic skills. Participants in the program will be matched with trained community volunteer tutors and other experts. Another benefit is that childcare services will be provided while parents attend classes or workshops. Other key benefits include:
    • Computer skills
    • GED & HSED assistance
    • Basic literacy skills
    • Employment and job skills
    • English Language assistance, including details on tutoring online as a job.




  • Retired & Senior Volunteer Program : This is the local version of a national volunteer program sponsored by ADVOCAP and funded by the State of Wisconsin. Some of what is provided by this program includes free food to seniors, resources to build and repair homes for senior citizens, they will provide training if someone is looking to reenter the workforce, and much more.
  • Weatherization : This is a state and federal government funded program. ADVOCAP's weatherization services will help low income, elderly, and the disabled reduce energy bills and conserve energy. Program participants may save up to hundreds of dollars per year through both reduced energy and heat consumption. Homes are both made warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thanks to weatherization services. The program is free to qualified families.
  • Homeless Prevention : The community action agency may have limited funding for low income families with an eviction notice. There may be zero interest loans, or in some cases direct financial aid, for paying rent or other housing expenses. They also have shelters and low income housing in the Oshkosh Wisconsin region.

Contact ADVOCAP, Inc. at (920) 922-7760. They administer many services for low income families as well as seniors in the county. Read more on ADVOCAP community action  assistance.

Winnebago agencies that provide financial assistance

Leaven - Main Office – Volunteers can help people in a crisis or hardship who have basic needs that cannot be met elsewhere. Receive assistance with transportation and utilities, rent and security deposit assistance and more. Any financial assistance is usually paid directly to the vendor, such as landlord or utility company.

In addition, the agency also provides a central location to help the needy and low income in the community, thereby avoiding duplication of services. Can provide referrals, help in applying for government assistance, and similar services. 1475 Opportunity Way, Menasha, Wisconsin 54952, phone (920) 738-9635





St. Vincent De Paul Society – Neenah – The charity works to provide basic household assistance to low income families and individuals in need, along with connecting people to other sources of help. For example, offers basic emergency financial needs and household support, and can help clients pay rent, pay medical emergencies and bills, electric bills, purchase gas, obtain bus tickets, and similar services. Food and household goods are offered too. 884 South Commercial Street, Neenah, WI 54956, phone (920) 727-1766

American Red Cross - East Central Wisconsin Chapter – Runs the Bridges Emergency Assistance Program. 515 S. Washburn Street Suite 201, Oshkosh, WI 54904, call (888) 231-3590

Energy Services - Winnebago County – This is the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP). Provides financial assistance for electric costs, heating bills, and support for energy crisis situations. Will make a one-time payment to help pay bills. In addition to one time payments, the program can provide services if the boiler or furnace stops operating during the heating season. Heating and cooling system assistance includes payment for repairs or even replacement of your heating unit. 212 W. 12th Avenue, (800) 506-5596

There is often a need for winter heating bill help in Winnebago County. To these end, the government WHEAP program as well as non-profits and community action agencies offer support. There are even rules and regulations around when the heat can be legally shut off. Vulnerable families have more protections, and read more on laws to protect customers from illegal disconnections.

Oshkosh Salvation Army – When the charity has funding, they can help pay for the following. Offers prescription vouchers, rent assistance, utility bill assistance and free school supplies. The non-profit Christian faith based charity also provides donated and dry-cleaned coats to individuals from October through January, and is the distribution point for the Coats-for-Kids program.

May also provide free Christmas toys to needy children and a birthday cake through their Birthday Club in Winnebago County. Or try the homeless shelter, free food pantry, as well as general case management. The address is 417 Algoma Boulevard, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901, phone (920) 232-7660. Or more on Winnebago County Salvation Army assistance programs.

Oshkosh St. Vincent De Paul Society – The non-profit will do what they can to help the needy. Eligible applicants may qualify for help with rent and housing expenses, heating and electric bills, funds for gasoline or bus tickets, and assistance with medical emergencies or even hospital bills. The Oshkosh church and St. Vincent is at 2551 Jackson Street, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901, call (920) 235-9368. Or there are many other options out there too in order to get help from churches.





Food, groceries, and non-financial aid in Winnebago County

Several food banks, churches, and charities provide meals, clothing, as well as free food to members of the community. Resources are limited, and not everyone can receive help. However even if a food bank can’t meet your needs, they can usually refer you to other locations in Oshkosh or Winnebago County. There are even soup kitchens for the low income in the community.

  • Omro Community Food Pantry - Call (920) 685-2529
  • Lord's Highlands Food Pantry is a church and faith based food bank - (920) 233-4034
  • St. Thomas Church, Food Pantry as well as Double Portion Soup Kitchen - Get emergency food boxes and other aid. Call (920) 235-1031
  • Ruth's Pantry can be reached at (920) 836-2382
  • Or find more Winnebago County free food banks.

Get free legal advice

Two clinics have opened that provide free legal assistance in Oshkosh and Menasha. The legal clinics were created from a startup grant from the State Bar Legal Assistance Committee. They provide free legal assistance to low and moderate income people, as well as others who just can’t afford their own attorney. The clinics operate at the main public libraries, and other clinic will soon be opened in Neenah. Stop by your local library for hours. Or call  Legal Action of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Wisconsin Office. Phone (920) 233-6521.

A wide variety of people can get help. The average household income of people served at the clinics was at one time below the poverty level, but now it’s more of a mix and all income levels are getting support. Also, initially 50 to 60 percent of the cases were family related. However, questions about financial problems, ways to stop a foreclosure, and general mortgage help is offered.

HUD counseling and legal aid assists with other issues too. Those range from small claims, landlord/tenant issues, and even such issues as staying in a home to slow down a foreclosure. As Winnebago County residents have many mortgage assistance programs available to them. Learn more on this tactic on staying in home for delaying a foreclosure filing.

The Winnebago free legal assistance program was developed by Winnebago Court Commissioner, the County Clerk of Courts, and other representatives from the Legal Action of Wisconsin, Winnefox Library System, The Christine Ann Center, UW-Oskosh, and Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center.







Free medical and dental care

Several different health as well as dental clinics operate in Winnebago County Wisconsin. Some of the centers have a variable rate billing structure in place, which may provide free medical and/or dental care from time to time. While income limits usually apply, a clinic is a good place to call for medical bill assistance. Some of the options include:

  • Neenah Health Department, phone number (920) 886-6155. Can provide prescriptions and other forms of medical care.
  • St. Francis Clinic - Free care is provided from this location. Dial (920) 231-2378.
  • Those are just two of the options available. Click here for additional locations of free community clinics in Winnebago County.

By Jon McNamara

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