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State Financial Resources

Assistance Programs by County

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Financial assistance programs California.

Financial help and grant money is available in all cities and counties listed below including Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. In addition to the programs below, find government assistance as well as charities in California that can provide help with paying bills that are available statewide and by county. Locate financial assistance for rent, deposits or mortgage payments, transportation, medical care, and other expenses.

Community Services & Development (CSD) is a department of the California Health and Human Services Agency. The CSD department manages various federal government programs that help lower income families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. They can assist with rent, helps them with paying their home energy bills, and also aids them in finding as well as residing in affordable housing. In addition, CSD administers a state-funded Naturalization Services Program that will assist legal permanent residents in obtaining citizenship. Dial (866) 675-6623. Programs offered include :

  • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which is a program that was created to help provide a range of services to assist low-income families and people. The agencies helps clients in attaining the knowledge, skills, and motivation that is necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. This program will also provides low-income people with immediate life necessities such as shelter, food, and health care needs, etc.
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Weatherization Assistance Program, and Reduced Rate Programs - The California State Department of Community Services & Development also administers these various energy and utility bill saving programs. Get financial help with paying utilities, summer AC bills, and free energy saving enhancements.

Healthy Families
A low-cost health insurance program for families with children up to the age of 19. Low-cost monthly premiums are generally under $50 or $100 per month. Call 1-800-880-5305

Church Assistance Program
Low income families in California, immigrants, seniors and others can get help. Free boxes of food or financial aid for paying utility or heating bills is combined with rental assistance. There may also be gasoline vouchers or hot meals served along with assistance for single moms. Read churches assistance programs.

Help with Water Bills
This program is offered to homeowners in Northern California, and low and moderate income households are eligible for a discount on their monthly water bills. Learn more on H2O Help to Others.




CalHFA - California Homebuyer's Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP)
The California Housing Finance Agency has a strong understanding of the desire of many people want to own their first home. They also realize how difficult that can be to do in CA. That is why this government assistance program offers low interest rate first mortgage programs and also a variety of down payment assistance programs to eligible first-time home buyers. Call 877.922.5432

Self-sufficiency, Job Training, and Referrals
Receive case management, employment services, and ongoing support from a community action agency/partnership. Many of these non-profits can also direct families to emergency financial aid programs or government grants as well. Continue with California community action agencies.

In addition to those resources, the state operates WorkSource centers. These government funded locations can help the unemployed or people looking to gain new skills. Receive free career counseling services, job search assistance, and additional support. More California job training and employment services.

Assistance with Medical Debt Collectors and Charity Health Care
The state of California has created laws that protect patients from aggressive and illegal debt collection efforts.  The state also ensure that families and individuals get access to free medical care. Read more on Medical Debt Collection Laws.

California Mortgage Help and Foreclosure Aid
California also has an assistance program that can help prevent a foreclosure. Resources can allow people to get help with their mortgage. Many services are also offered by your town or city. More details on assistance with Mortgages in California.

In addition, find a listing of HUD approved foreclosure and housing counseling agencies. Click here for details on HUD in California.

Debt Reduction and Credit Counseling
A number of organizations, most of which are non-profit, can help California consumers get back on track with paying off debts and outstanding bills. Many debt reduction programs are offered at no cost. Read more California free credit counseling.





Legal Assistance
Several non-profit law firms as well as government supported attorneys provide low income, senior citizens, and other qualified individuals with free legal assistance and counsel. Learn more on free legal aid in California.

Financial Assistance in a Crisis
Resources can help families pay their rent, electric bills, and transportation costs, such as gas and automobile repairs. Many programs are administered by the Salvation Army in California. Read more on emergency assistance in California.

California Department of Social Services
The California Department of Social Services offers numerous grants and assistance programs to state residents. Some of the aid offered includes below, or dial 916-651-8848

  • Cash aid programs are for low income families that can help them meet their basic needs. The state CalWorks program will also provide employment, education, and training programs to help families get jobs and move towards self-sufficiency. Transportation, child care, work expenses and counseling are also available for families in work activities. Cash aid is available in some form or another for families and caretakers with children, adults, seniors, disabled, children and adults. 916-651-8848
  • Transportation needs are addressed from government assistance programs. This includes free bus passes, train tickets, fuel for cars, and more. It is all job related, and find how to get free gas cards near you.
  • Food Stamp Program, Women Infants and Children (WIC), and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) can help lower income people buy the food they need for good health and nutrition. CalFresh SNAP Food stamps provides emergency food supplies to low-income individuals and households, and help pregnant mothers and newborn kids.
  • CalWORKs Child Care is a program that helps a family transition from immediate, short-term needs to the more stable, long-term child care that is absolutely necessary for the family to leave (and remain off) state aid. Call 916.657.2144. More on California free daycare.
  • Cal-Learn - This assistance program helps parenting and pregnant teens attend and graduate from high school or its equivalent. Payments for necessary child care are also included with this assistance.
  • Rent help is available in partnership with local non-profit agencies. Both state of California grants and loans may be used. Find rent assistance in California.
  • Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid health care program. This program helps pay for a variety of medical services for both adults and children if they have limited income and resources.
  • CalWORKs Program will help California residents prepare for employment. Services provide include transportation, child care, and work-related or training-related expenses are provided.
  • Free diapers and wipes are offered to new low-income parents. In addition, a few non-profit agencies provide free diapers to low income families in parts of California. Read about free diaper programs.
  • Find additional government, cash and public assistance in California.





Free or Discounted Health Care
The state of California has hundreds of free clinics throughout the state that offer either free or discounted health care. They offer a wide variety of medical services to residents. Learn more on free healthcare in California.

Many volunteer dentists, doctors and medical professionals also provide free care. Learn more and also get a listing of California community clinics that provide free health care.

Also learn about eye doctors who donate their time and donate glasses. Find how you can receive free eye exams and prescription glasses. Click here California free eye exams and glasses.

If you specifically need oral healthcare or your dental needs met, read more on non-profit, free dental clinics in California.

The state also coordinates programs that provide medical and dental care to the uninsured and residents with limited health plans. California families can receive services including prescription medications, specialty care, and help paying premiums and medical bills. Read health care for uninsured in California.

Child Care Assistance Programs
Three versions of this government assistance program. The government will provide subsidized child care services or free daycare to eligible families in California. The three programs are CalWORKs, Alternative Payment, and Child Protective Services. CalWORKs helps families who are in transition off of cash aid/welfare assistance and grants. The Program helps pay for child care expenses for families while the parents work, attend school or college, seek work, attend school, or while they seek permanent housing in California. Call (916) 657-2144

Electric and Utility Bill Programs
In addition to calling non-profit agencies and government organizations in your county, some resources and services are offered directly by energy companies in California. Click here to find how to get help with your bills in California.

Discounted Telephone Service from LifeLine
California provides savings and low cost phones, either cell or home, to low income households. Customers can save a significant amount of money on their monthly bills from the California LifeLine program.

Homeless Prevention and Rehousing Services
Federal government grants from HUD are used by local communities as part of the Continuum of Care program. Assistance may be offered to stop evictions. Other resources include transitional housing, one time rent help, or funds to pay security deposits. Read more California eviction prevention services.







Vouchers for Paying Rent
Very low income families may qualify for section 8 housing vouchers. Additional support may be for the disabled and elderly in California. The federal government assistance HUD program can offer case management and ongoing rental assistance to those that qualify. Click more details Section 8 in California.

Disability Benefits and Assistance Programs
California provides several resources that are specifically for disabled residents and their caregivers. The Department of Developmental Services can provide information, assistance with the application process, in home and medical care, and other financial aid. More on California disability programs.

Programs for Seniors and Older Adults in California
The Department of Aging partners with a number of local centers and office of aging locations to provide assistance to people over 55 and the elderly. Resources can provide food, information on health and medical care, social services, jobs, and other government aid. More information on senior assistance in California.

Rescue Mission Organizations
Most California cities have rescue missions that can provide individuals with access to a food pantry, homeless prevention services, thrift stores, and other aid. Learn more on California rescue Mission.

Food Pantries and Banks
While food and financial aid can be obtained at the county level per below, you can also contact a food bank in your area. More on California free food banks.

Also, with food prices increasing every year, learn about free programs open to all people that provide California residents with savings of up to 60% on their groceries. Find cheap food in California.

Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP)
Provides assistance paying utility bills to households that are in a electric or heating bill crisis situation. Examples of help provided include a household that has received a 24- or 48-hour service termination or disconnect notice by their utility company, if they have an energy-related crisis of life-threatening emergency, aid can be provided.

Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP)
Provides a direct grant payment to an eligible client’s utility, summer electric or heating bill to help offset the cost of cooling or heating their home. In a crisis, LIHEAP can provide funds in as little as 48 hours to help the elderly, disabled, or vulnerable in CA keep their electricity on. Grants are often combined with free weatherization, which is an energy saving program, and services offered for qualified customers may include energy efficient furnaces, attic insulation, weatherstripping, energy efficient appliances and more. More on LIHEAP in California.

Assistance From California Cities and Counties

Alameda County (Oakland)

Butte County (Oroville)

Calaveras County (San Andreas)

Contra Costa County (Martinez)

El Dorado (Placerville)

Fresno County

Glenn County (Willows)

Humboldt County (Eureka)





Imperial County (El Centro)

Kern County (Bakersfield)

Kings County (Hanford)

Lake County (Lakeport)

Lassen County (Susanville)

Los Angeles

Madera County

Marin County (San Rafael)

Mariposa County

Mendocino County (Ukiah)

Merced County

Monterey County (Salinas)

Napa County

Nevada County (Nevada City)

Orange County (Santa Ana)

Placer County (Auburn)

Plumas County (Quincy)

Riverside County

Sacramento County

San Bernardino

San Diego County

San Gabriel Valley communities

San Francisco

San Joaquin County (Stockton)





San Luis Obispo County

San Mateo County (Redwood City)

Santa Barbara County (Santa Maria)

Santa Clara County (San Jose)

Santa Cruz

Shasta County (Redding)

Sierra County (Downieville)

Solano County (Fairfield)

Sonoma County (Santa Rosa)

Stanislaus County (Modesto)

Sutter County (Yuba City)

Tehama County (Red Bluff)

Tulare County (Visalia)

Ventura County

Yolo County (Woodland)

Yuba County (Marysville)


By Jon McNamara

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