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Winnebago County Illinois and Rockford assistance programs.

Find the main places to turn to for financial help (rent or security deposit assistance, free groceries, energy or heating help, medical, etc) in Winnebago County Illinois. There are churches that help with rent or offer free food/clothes, government grants for paying utility bills, free medical or health care from charitable clinics, cash aid from Department of Human Services in Rockford, and much more.

Several parishes also help the low income, working poor, and unemployed in the county. There may be meals, clothes, and limited financial help, as there are churches that help with rent. There are also a number of self-sufficiency type resources including government DHS job training, credit repair services and more.

Emergency and crisis assistance

Catholic Charities, Rockford. Located on 102 South Madison in Rockford, Illinois. Phone number is 815.965.0623. The Catholic Charities non-profit organization, which will support people of all faiths and religions in the Diocese of Rockford. Based on resources, they will provide short term assistance for bills as funding allows. Get help with paying utility and heating bills, rent, and more.

However, the primary goal of the agency is to help people get back on their feet, and they do this by helping them achieve a degree of independence and become self-sufficient. Other assistance is offered for seniors, immigrants, and children. Find more information on Winnebago County region Catholic Charities.

The Salvation Army of Rockford Illinois. Dial 815.226.4400. This non-profit charity organization can help people with numerous basic needs such as rent, food, clothing, eviction prevention assistance, or transportation. There may also be free items including furnishings, household products, etc. through the social service programs. Or get a free box of food, Christmas toy from Adopt a Family, or back to school supplies for students of all ages.

In addition, they also run the Kilburn Community Center, which offers free computer classes for people of all ages, tutoring, resume review services, after-school care and supervised recreation. Case managers will partner with clients to help them gain long term stability and increase their income. Continue Rockford Salvation Army assistance programs.




Northwest Community Center offers a service known as Neighborhood Empowerment. This will provide qualified families with various supportive services. As a result of the various resources and referrals provided, families are strengthened and can gain self-sufficiency through this network of support. Low-income families and single moms may be able to receive the support they need to meet life's fundamental challenges. Learn about housing and rental assistance programs, financial assistance for heating bills, food, and much more. 1325 North Johnston Avenue Rockford, IL 61101, call (815) 964-6885.

Ken-Rock Community Center provides free tax assistance to seniors and low income families from January to April of each year. (815) 398-8864.

Lifescape Community Services only helps people over the age of 60 as well as disabled. The SeniorAssist program can offer information on LIHEAP low income energy programs, home repairs, applying for health assistance such as Medicare, and other aid. They also my have information on grant programs for housing or rent assistance, but their services really involve referrals to senior citizens. Location is 705 Kilburn Avenue, Rockford, Illinois 61101-8159, call (800) 779-1189. More on programs from Lifescape.

Free regional Christmas and Thanksgiving programs - Whether struggling, or low income, find places that give out free Christmas toys, games, Thanksgiving turkey meals and more. The goal is to spread the joy, in particular to children as well as the elderly. More on free holiday help in Winnebago County and Rockford.

The Rescue Mission is for the very low income, evicted, and homeless. The charity is involved in helping residents with basic needs. Rockford area families can receive short term housing solutions, free food, or medical or dental care. They can help with job search from the Education Center and other crisis assistance programs. More Rockford Rescue Mission.





Winnebago County Referral Line provides information to residents. Anyone can dial the service to learn about assistance programs in the county. Some of them include, but are not limited too, the following.

  • The Info Line Service provides details on educational resources such as Head Start, job training, and child care vouchers for breaking the cycle of poverty.
  • Applications to grant programs.
  • Financial literacy around credit counseling and parenting.
  • Other support can be arranged too, and read more Info Line Support services.

The City of Rockford Human Services Department, which can be reached at (815) 987-5782 or (815) 987-7620, administers a number of government aid and public benefit program for people in need of help. There are free low income grants to help with energy bills. The Department is the local agency that distributes cash grants from the federal government funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Winnebago County.

The LIHEAP program will assist those residents who pay their utility or heating bills to a regulated fuel company or has heating included in their rent. The amount of assistance and cash grants provided to an applicant will vary based upon household income, fuel type, and size. Priority eligibility for grants from LIHEAP is given to the elderly and handicapped people of Illinois.

Many other resources are offered too by the DHS Family Community Resource Center in Winnebago County. The unemployed, disabled, elderly and others can apply for government and public assistance here. Programs include TANF cash assistance, SNAP food stamps, and medical bill assistance program including Medicaid. Stop by Family Community Resource Center at 1111 N Avon St, Rockford, Illinois 61101, or call (815) 987-7620. Read more Illinois public assistance.

Another resource offered by the City of Rockford Human Services Department is a housing program. This offers several services, including mediation for landlord/tenant complaints, rent assistance, homeless prevention through direct financial assistance as well as cash grants. There is also mortgage help in the form of free foreclosure counseling for persons who may lose their homes. Call them at (815) 987-5782, or click here to learn about other free Illinois mortgage programs.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Conference has several churches and parishes, with a focus on Rockford. Based on applicant needs, which needs to be confirmed, there may be financial aid provided. Some clients will give given loans as well. Or find free food along with a low cost thrift store, medical equipment and other items from SVDP. Continue with St. Vincent de Paul assistance programs in Winnebago County.

Get rent and housing assistance in the county. There are grants, loans, and even free legal mediation services that all can be used to help tenants pay their rent or housing costs, even including utilities or security deposits. The homeless can access rehousing programs in Winnebago County, homeless shelters, or subsidized, income based apartments. More on Winnebago County rental assistance programs.

There is help paying for child care expenses. The Blackhawk Learning Connection can provide child care and support. Call them at 815.962.8853 to learn more or to apply. The main mission of the Blackhawk Learning Connection's mission is to provide high quality, yet affordable child care. The program they offer is tailored for low to moderate income families and individuals that are currently residing in Rockford.





Having child care paid for can help people both achieve and maintain economic independence. BLC is a licensed child care center that provides free or discounted care for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Click here for additional child care tips and saving programs.

Job finding and career development

The Careers Etc. organizations mission is to empower low income, jobless, recently unemployed, and other economically disadvantaged individuals. They want them to provide for themselves and their families, and they can do this by assisting them in finding a job and develop meaningful careers.

The Careers, Etc. organization has been providing career counseling, job readiness training, as well as free development opportunities. Or get basic needs including work uniforms. There are also other resources, such as free clothing for work or internet access along with other services to economically disadvantaged adults who live in Winnebago County since 1985. 815.964.3491

Free legal assistance

If you are facing a civil legal action, Prairie State Legal Services Services offers assistance from lawyers, attorneys and paralegals, some of whom are volunteers. There is free representation and other services for low income persons, the elderly, disabled, and those people who are over 60 if they have serious civil legal problems and need counsel or some type of help to solve them.

Prairie State has always focused intensely on providing free legal services and representation to the most vulnerable groups in our society, which include the elderly, the poor, the physically and mentally disabled as well as other vulnerable or disadvantaged people. They need to ensure all people have a fair hearing. Phone number is 815.965.2134

Free food in Winnebago County

Rochelle Christian Food Pantry provides food and non-financial aid. Dial 815.562.6654

St. Bridget Catholic Church, which can be reached at (815) 877-1664, also has an on site food pantry.

St. Elizabeth Catholic Community Center may have boxes of free food, meals, groceries, and more. Rockford Illinois based. Dial (815) 965-6993.

Several other pantries and food banks operate in the region. They have everything from emergency boxes of groceries to free Christmas meals and maybe items like clothing. More food pantries in Winnebago County.

Credit repair, debt reduction, and foreclosure prevention

Family Credit Management is a non-profit agency that offers several different financial assistance and advice programs. Meet with a non-profit counselor to get help managing credit card bills and debts, get free or low cost advice on mortgage troubles and foreclosure filings, develop a household spending plan that works, or get information and resources on repairing your credit and finances. Learn about debt management programs as well, as well as whether you should use debt settlement. Call 800-994-3328, and based in Rockford Illinois. Read more on the use of debt settlement programs and should you use them.

Rockford Area Affordable Housing Coalition also offers mortgage default and foreclosure prevention counseling and purchasing assistance. The non-profit is located at 205 N Church St. For more information or free advice dial (815) 962-2011.







Free medical and health care

Contact the Winnebago County Health Department for low cost or maybe free health care and medical services. Programs offered include Well Child Clinics, Immunizations, Flu Shots, Check Ups, and other health care services. Call 815-720-4000

There are also a number of federal government qualified health centers in Winnebago County and Rockford. These provide free or low cost care, based on the patients income. They will not turn anyone away. As there may be dental care, physicals, free eye exams, diabetes management, and much more. Find details and learn more on federal government qualified health centers.

Rockford Rescue Mission Ministries, Inc. may offer free medical care. This can include dental assistance, general testing, referrals, chiropractic care, and  treatment for non-chronic ailments. Phone (815) 965-5332.

The Bridge Clinic is staffed by volunteers. Nurses and doctors provide limited amounts of free basic medical care to people age 18 and older. It is offered for people who lack health insurance and also meet low income levels. Referrals to other local health care agencies and federal government medical programs may be offered too. 318 N. Church Street, Second-First Church of Rockford, Rockford, Illinois 61101. Dial (815) 494-1594.


By Jon McNamara

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