There are many California low-income benefits programs that can help with food resources, medical care, childcare, and other important options. If you need help locating a state or federal program you can look at the official sites of any of the agencies and programs below, or review your options at State of California official sites such as BenefitsCal.com.
CalFresh is a federal program otherwise known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. CalFresh offers monthly food benefits to low income residents, is federally mandated, and operated by individual counties in the state.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is another federally-funded program offering financial help to purchase food from WIC-approved sources.
The California Association of Food Banks is an organization offering Food To Family, a program that partners with other entities in the state to provide some 160 million pounds of fresh food to California food banks.
The School Breakfast Program, a federally-funded option offering financial help to allow schools to make breakfast available to school-age children. This program is run nationally by the USDA and is administered locally by the California Department of Education.
BenefitsCal is an agency offering one-stop application options for a variety of California low income benefits programs including CalFresh, CalWORKs, and other choices. Applicants may qualify for cash assistance intended for families with few assets and little income, who have children or who are expecting children soon.
CalHFA offers affordable home loans through a network of participating lenders. These loans are need-based, feature household income limits, and in some cases the home must be purchased within a specific region to qualify for help such as down payment and closing cost assistance.
The Department of Housing And Urban Development offers resources for those who seek down payment assistance or other housing help. You can find resources listed by state at the official site, HUD.gov. You can also call HUD directly to request a referral to a local, HUD-approved housing counselor who can advise you on how to find and pay for a home.
The California Department of Community Services and Development has multiple programs that can help you pay your utility bills, learn how to make your home more energy efficient, and locate community services near you.
The California Community Action Partnership Association (CalCAPA) works with some sixty agencies across California to “create opportunities to overcome the causes and conditions of poverty”. The official site says these programs “include energy assistance services, emergency services, food distribution, early childhood and adult education”, as well as issues related to financial literacy and job skills.
California Mortgage Relief is a program designed to help California residents affected by COVID-19. This option allows homeowners to catch up on missed or past-due housing payments including property taxes.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally run program offering help with utility costs, upgrading the home to be more energy efficient, and to help people weather energy crisis issues.
CalWORKs is a California public assistance program operated by California county Welfare departments. The program offers assistance and financial support “to eligible families that have a child(ren) in the home,” according to the official site.
Factors that influence your application include family size, how many people in the home are eligible for the program and whether any special needs apply. The official site states that if a California family has “little or no cash and needs housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care,” they may qualify for “immediate” short-term assistance.
The Head Start Program is a federal program designed to support early learning, health and development, and family well-being. This program is for children from birth to compulsory school age, as well as those who are expecting. Head Start is for families with income at or below federal low-income guidelines.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF offers state grants intended to be used in state-level programs associated with financial relief services. These grants are not provided directly to families, but to agencies that serve needy families.
Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program; qualifying low-income applicants may receive medical services at little or no cost. This is a program run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). County human services departments run Medi-Cal at the local level; some statistics associated with this program include counting as many as one in three California residents benefitting from this program.
Covered California is a healthcare marketplace, offering a free service to connect Californians with healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care act as well as the opportunity to get financial help, “when you buy health insurance from well-known companies”. You may qualify for assistance with healthcare payments or qualify for Medi-Cal.
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Joe Wallace has been covering real estate, mortgage and financial topics since 1995. His work has appeared on ABC, The Pentagon Channel, Veteran.com plus a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.