Money Assistance California – Help paying bills, rent, loans & more

California may be home to beautiful beaches and lots of sunlight, but it’s also home to one of the largest unemployed populations. With an employment rate of over 7 percent (Nov 14), California ranks at number 45 for employment rates. If you are unemployed or need financial assistance for other reasons, there are a few services in California that may be able to offer help.

Below are multiple ways to get financial help in California. Services that include help paying bills, rent, food/groceries, personal loans, debt relief and as mentioned various government benefits and support agencies across California.

Assistance with utilities: California has several programs specifically designed to provide assistance with utility bills. The CARE (California Alternate Rates for Energy) could help you get up to 35 percent off of your monthly utility bill. You may also get assistance through The Family Electric Rate Assistance Program provides lower rates for your electric bill and the Energy Savings Assistance Program provides free weatherization services to help reduce energy expenses.

Emergency Cash: For situations that require cash, it is important that you don’t set yourself for more financial pain by taking on a bad loan. If you are in need of cash make sure you completely understand the terms and all fees associated with it. Visit our responsible lending section for loan options that may be suitable for your situation.

Social Security Loans (SSI)
Many residents living in California collecting Social Security may qualify for more financial assistance through SSI. For those whose only income is Social Security and you are in need of a loan, there may be specialist lenders who will assist. Learn more about SSI and other social security loan options here.


Food Assistance: If you need assistance with getting food on your table, the state of California provides assistance through the Food Stamp and WIC program. Stipends are provided each month to help supplement food budgets. Additionally, you may qualify for special assistance through the Emergency Food Assistance Program. The Emergency Program provides supplies for families with children or very low income in the event of a financial emergency. You may also qualify for financial assistance through local charities or food banks.

Rent and Mortgage: Need help with rent? You can get assistance with rent and mortgage payments through the Homeowner Assistance Program and the Renter Assistance Program. Additionally potential homeowners can receive assistance for a down payment through the California Homebuyer’s Down Payment Assistance Program (CHDPAP). Each program requires applicants to provide proof of need. The rental assistance programs are often limited to 12 months of assistance.

Medical Assistance: In addition to traditional medical programs like Medicaid and CHIP, California offers several different programs designed to help low income families get insurance coverage. The Healthy Families program provides insurance for families with premiums as low as $4 per month. You can also get assistance from the Operation Access program that helps low income families receive necessary surgical procedures for free or very low cost. The procedures are performed by volunteer doctors. In addition to state run programs there are many low cost or free clinics that provide medical care on a sliding scale. Learn more about medical programs here.

Educational Assistance: Potential students may qualify for assistance through the Federal Pell Grant program. Additionally, you may qualify for a California National Guard Education Assistance Program if you are an active member of the California National Guard. Additionally, the State of California home page lists several grants and financial assistance programs specifically for residents of the state.

Community Action Centers: The Community Action Centers Project in California has helped over 1.5 million people get financial assistance. Residents can get help finding temporary financial assistance, housing and grant. Additionally, the Community Action Partnership provides education, training and technical assistance for individuals who need help finding work. Residents of California can apply for assistance with applying for financial help.

Charities: Sometimes, money is running short but you may not qualify for financial assistance through government or locally funded programs. There are a lot of charities in California that can help provide temporary or emergency assistance including a Food Pantry and religious charities. To help find the right charity for your situation you can look for charities in California by using the charity navigator.


Learn more about free items and other money assistance services in California, including: Free clothes, furniture, car, school accessories, help with fines, seasonal items & more!
The below services are in general and may not be available in California. However, if not available, many may have partnerships with other organizations through out the state that they can connect you with.

Free Hotel or Motel Vouchers for the Homeless or Emergencies
Those experiencing hardship and are without a roof over their head can access different types of short and possibly longer term accommodation throughout California. Learn more about accommodation assistance in here.

Dealing with tickets or fines
If you have unpaid tickers or fines, avoiding them will only create further financial and credit problems. Learn about ways to get assistance with dealing with fines in California, from requesting a waiver or challenging inaccurate fines. Get the information you need to tackle fines here.

How to get a free laptop or computer
Low income families have a range of organizations that provide free technology assistance such as computers and laptops throughout the country including California. Learn about what free computers and laptop organizations are near you and how to apply here.

Getting a free or low cost car
At any given time there are different organizations that assist low income earners with transportation. Across the country and in California there are different services that assist people with getting a vehicle. Learn more about free cars, how to get one and where to apply.

How to get free gas for emergencies
Gas prices in California like most of the country are extremely high. This can put serious strain on the family budget. For those dealing with cashflow issues and finding it hard to put fuel in the car, there is help. Learn how to get free gas for emergencies through free gas vouchers.