Help Links – Pinellas

Pinellas County assistance programs.

Assistance with expenses and bills

There are services that can help individuals and families become self-sufficient and get short term assistance for paying bills. The Pinellas Opportunity Council, Inc. (POC) is a non-profit Community Action Agency that has been in operation since 1968. They partner with state, federal, local and private charities and organizations to offer assistance programs to Clearwater and Pinellas County families. Some of what is offered are noted below. However, there are other. Contact them at 3443 1st Avenue N, St. Petersburg, FL 33713. Their phone number 327-8690.

  • Emergency Services and Crisis Program
    People facing a crisis can get limited financial assistance and grants on a one-time basis that can be used to pay utility and heating bills, pay for fuel oil, rent/mortgage payments, food aid, clothing, and other emergency situations. Persons seeking more information or assistance from this program should call the office in their area to setup an appointment to apply.
  • POC Federal Credit Union
    The organization also provides affordable financial services, such as low interest loans, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, counseling, money orders, and more for low-income members.
  • Other resources are offered by POC as well such as Chore Services for the elderly and disabled. The focus is always on helping people works towards self-sufficiency. More on Pinellas Council programs.

Find help with rent, mortgage, and energy bills

Most of the non-profits, agencies, and programs below can help with utilities, food, rent, and more. To find additional locations in St. Petersburg Florida and the region that focus on rental assistance, read more on St. Petersburg rent assistance.

Pinellas County, Health & Human Services Department, 1100 Cleveland, Suite 1500
Clearwater, FL 33755 phone 464-3337
Low and moderate income families can get grants and help for paying mortgage, rent or utility bills. There are also programs for the disabled, the sick, and additional energy assistance for the elderly when funds are available. Read more on Florida foreclosure programs.

Catholic Charities, City ESG Homeless Prevention, 1213 16th St. N. Saint Petersburg, Florida 33705, dial (727) 893-1313 The agency may have emergency financial assistance and cash grants. The support may be available for past rent or unpaid bills based on a financial assessment of the applicant. The applicant needs to live in the city itself, can’t be eligible for assistance elsewhere and they also need to bring necessary verification of their need and identification.

Suncoast Center, Inc. 928 22nd Avenue S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705 call: 822-3961
You may be eligible for The Family Loan Program, which is an innovative program that provides small, competitively priced interest rate loans to low-income parents who are unable to qualify for a loan elsewhere. The purpose of the financial assistance program is to help individuals and families who are striving for self-sufficiency by providing them loans to pay for unexpected expenses and bills that could interfere with their ability to remain employed or stay in school. As an example of what is offered, loans are available for the following purposes: rent assistance, car purchases and repairs, housing assistance, medical costs, job related tools and uniforms, child care, energy assistance, utility deposits, and mortgage payments. Low interest car loans from Ways to Work may be another option.

Low income energy assistance and weatherization programs. St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Pinellas County County residents can get help with paying their home cooling and utility bills, as well as even the occasional winter heating bill. On the other hand, the weatherization program provides Pinellas County residents with energy saving updates to their home as well as home repairs and energy conservation measures. Contact the Pinellas County Urban League at 727.327.2081 to learn more or apply for utility bills help.

High Point Neighborhood Family Center, which can be reached at (727) 533-0730, may be able to provide rent and housing assistance to Clearwater renters who have an eviction notice.

Oldsmar Cares is a local non-profit agency which provides rent and cooling and utility bill assistance, a food pantry, and a clothes closet, possible rent help, all at no cost to those in need in the Oldsmar Florida area. Dial (813) 415-7373
Pinellas County residents can turn to He Cares, a Benevolence Ministry and Thrift Store for aid. Among other services they provide food, as well as financial assistance for paying rent, electric, and water bills. Phone (727) 548-1535.

St. Petersburg and Clearwater Salvation Army – The agency helps the low income and people at risk. Financial assistance can be provided to help stabilize a family’s situation. Programs offered include rent help, cash for utilities, and homeless prevention services. One of the resources in high demand is Christmas and holiday assistance. Food, meals, clothing, and other emergency aid is provided from on site social workers. Read more Salvation Army in Pinellas County.

Isaiah’s Inn provides rental assistance to full time, employed parents. They are based in Clearwater Florida. Call the agency at (727) 449-2600.

Social services and public assistance – A number of government programs provide funds to the unemployed, low income, and seniors. Social services can help pay bills and housing costs and also deal with the underlying cause of the financial hardship. So receive advice on debt management and mortgage assistance too. More.

St. Vincent de Paul Society Helpline (South County) maintains a telephone help-line which is used by those individuals who are needing financial help or that are looking for information on money for free to pay bills. The church can offer referrals for assistance with food, clothing, information on mortgage and foreclosure programs, furniture or the payment of utility bills.

A CARE center is also available on site for meals, clothing, and hygiene needs. St. Vincent also focuses on veterans and their housing needs by offering deposit help, aid from SSVF, and details on benefits. Dial (727) 825-0725, or more on Pinellas County St. Vincent de Paul.

The Homeless Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is run by the Pinellas County Health and Human Services Department. It provides rent help, eviction prevention, and funds for utility bills. Any support is combined with case management.

Families that are assisted may be in poverty or homeless. While income requirements are in place, the agency can offer emergency eviction prevention as well as help people find low income apartments in Clearwater and other cities. Call the agency at (727) 464-8452, or click Pinellas County eviction assistance.

Clothes, basic needs and other material goods are offered from Clearwater and St. Petersburg Florida clothing closets. Churches, charities, and not-profits provide vouchers and free items to children from low income families and others who are struggling. Another option is to shop at a thrift store for lower priced goods. Other items provided can include free Christmas supplies, school items, backpacks and more. Thousands of individuals use these locations every month. See Pinellas County clothing closets.

Another government or non-profit agency to call is Pinellas County Community Development Department. It is based in Clearwater Florida, and help is available for housing and rent concerns. Dial (727) 464-8245.

Pinellas County Catholic Charities – The primary low income program they offer is known as Friends in Need. It will help families obtaining their most basic needs. This means Catholic Charities may be able to help with housing, shelter, free food, or energy bills. The organization also runs a health care clinic, and provides immigration services. Their services are available across the region, including in St. Petersburg. More.

St. Giles Manor of Pinellas Park Florida will offer low income housing to senior citizens and the elderly. They will need to pay a portion of their income towards monthly rent expenses. A church sponsors this. (727) 541-5741.

St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church and their Ministry of Helping Hands provides financial help, or loans, to parish residents of clothing, rent help, food, electric bills and other basic utilities. 1507 Trotter Road, Largo, Florida 33770-4366, telephone (727) 584-2318.

City of St. Petersburg HOME Voucher Program runs the TBRA, Tenant Based Rental Assistance. It can provide rent, utility bill and deposit assistance for eligible households. They need to be at or below 50% of the median family income, is limited in scope, and will only satisfy a small number of applicants from the city. Location is 445 31st St. North or call (727) 821-4819.

Homeless Emergency Project can help eligible clients in the form of short-term financial assistance (3 months) payments for utilities, rental assistance, or even security deposits. In addition, the agency operates low income and transitional housing, including for single parents and veterans in the region, including St. Petersburg.

Other assistance from HEP in Pinellas County includes free food and personal hygiene items, legal aid for stopping evictions, as well as grants for paying the rental or utility deposit on a new home or apartment. Call (727) 442-9041, or continue with Homeless Emergency Project housing programs.

Disability Achievement Center is a non-residential center for independent living. The agency will assist people of all ages and disabilities gain or maintain independence in their homes. Core services provided are Information and Referral, Peer Mentoring, Independent Living Skills, and Youth in Transition. The supporting services from the center include Medical Equipment Recycling Program (MERP), Consumer Equipment and Modification Assistance, Employment Services, and Deaf as well as Hard of Hearing Programs. Office is at 12552 Belcher Road South, Largo, Florida 33773, (727) 539-7550

Daystar Life Center St. Petersburg offers a program known as Basic Needs Assistance. As funding allows, it can offer clothing, food, medications, and very limited amounts of utility bill assistance. For people who need help getting to work or an interview, the non-profit may offer free gasoline vouchers and/or bus tokens. The agency can also assist clients in obtaining identification in the form of Florida ID, a birth certificate, or a Driver’s license. 226 6th Street South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701-4116, telephone (727) 825-0442, or click more information.

Free holiday programs, ranging from Thanksgiving to Christmas and others, can help the less fortunate in Pinellas County. Children may receive free presents or toys and seniors a hot meal. Other charities in the region may pass out food boxes, serve a meal or hold special Christmas events. More details.

Clearwater Housing & Economic Development Assistance assists both new and current homeowners.  Look into down payment assistance, housing rehabilitation loans, foreclosure counseling and budget classes for individuals seeking homeownership. (727) 562-4030

Pinellas Metropolitan Ministries is a leading social service agency. As resources allow, they may have free food from the Box of Hope, hot meals, clothing, and emergency financial aid for housing or rent. Transitional housing and applications for benefits such as Medicaid, SNAP, or energy bill assistance may also be available on site at the Access Center. Locate assistance programs from Metropolitan Ministries.

Low income and Pinellas County transitional housing programs are available for struggling families. Resources can assist residents on the verge of eviction and the homeless. As part of these programs, the participant can receive a place to stay while they look for employment or save money to pay the rent. Numerous programs are available in St. Petersburg and other area. Find more information.

Isaiah’s Inn may have rental assistance to employed people facing a onetime crisis. There is not any financial aid for single children without children. Credit and budget counseling may also be available along with funds to pay a security deposit. 314 S. Lincoln Avenue, Clearwater, FL 33756, telephone number is (727) 449-2600.

Pinellas County housing authority administers programs for very low income tenants as well as homeowners, or those seeking to buy a property. The HUD approved agency may offer the following.

  • Vouchers for rent as part of section 8.
  • Assisted Living low income homes and apartments for seniors.
  • The Homeownership Resource Center can help buyers, as well as offer foreclosure prevention.
  • Other services are offered in well, and the authority also partners with charities such as the United Way and others on a referral system. Read Pinellas County housing authority

Crossroads of Tampa and Pinellas – They provide housing and other solutions to veterans and the disabled. Females can receive shelter from ATHENA House, Supportive Services for Veteran Families will provide money in an emergency for rent, and there is also extensive case management, outreach and referrals available to agencies in Pinellas County. Read Crossroads assistance programs.

Christopher Family Residence has a permanent housing program. As resources allow, it can provide a safe living environment for families and individuals in the region. Partner groups, including churches, may offer clients free medical services, referrals and case management. The goal of the housing is to give people time to gain stability. 3638 1st Avenue North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713. Telephone (727) 893-1707

People that Love Church may have small amounts of funds for paying electric or cooling bills. The applicant needs to have a disconnection notice. 817 5th Avenue North in Saint Petersburg. Call (727) 820-0775.

Many people in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Florida do not know that most utility companies offer grants, weatherization, and financial assistance. Read more on energy assistance programs.

Receive free health care in Clearwater and Pinellas County

Last year, almost 8 million people received free health care from clinics last year. One option in Florida is the Clearwater Free Clinic, which offers medical services for more and more patients who otherwise would not be able to afford to pay for health insurance and medical bills. Just this year, almost 60 percent more new patients have visited the Clearwater Free Clinic. (727) 447-3041

The health care provided is top notch. There is a highly trained team of physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physical therapists, and even office clerks and staff who donate thousands of hours of their personal time to provide the best medical services each and every year. They also partner with local organizations and hospitals, such as Mease Hospitals and Morton Plant who donate goods and services to the free clinic. Find other free health care resources.

To be eligible for aid, the medical care is made available to both uninsured children and adults who live in Pinellas County and Clearwater, and who are not eligible for other government programs and if they cannot afford to pay for their own private medical care. The vast majority of the patients and people seeking help from the Clearwater Free Health Care Clinic are hard working people who are struggling with the recent economic woes and who now have with limited incomes or low paying jobs. They mostly work, yet the low income they make will exclude them from receiving state or federal government assisted programs yet the income they have is not high enough to pay for insurance or private healthcare.

Other options and community clinics in the area include

  • St. Petersburg Free Clinic ((727) 327-0333)
  • Clearwater based La Clinica Guadalupana which provides medical care for the low income, homeless, and indigent in the community. (727) 461-7730
  • Or find a listing of clinics in Pinellas County.

Tampa Area Salvation Army

A variety of social services are offered by the Salvation Army’s Tampa Area command center. 813-226-0055. They offer low income and other people in need a wide range of assistance programs that can help families and individuals overcome hardship. For example, find ways to get help with housing expenses including rent, limited funding for utility bills, and more. They can even refer people to other local agencies if in face they can’t directly aid the applicant.

Pinellas County Florida non-profits and programs that are also offered to all state residents

Most of the services noted on this page are only for Pinellas County. However locate additional assistance programs that provide help across the state of Florida.

General assistance

Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) offers numerous services and resources including Head Start Child Development Center, the Child Care Food Program, P.E.P.P.I., Cash grants, Guardianship Program, Youth Shelters and Family Crisis Counseling Programs, Information on mortgage programs, Housing, Employment, Refugee and Immigration Programs. 813-676-9471.

Free legal consultations

If you are an individual with limited access to legal services, Bay Area Legal Services has as its primary objective the goal of providing and free legal support with a focus on low-income and elderly residents in both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

The attorneys and legal professionals at the non-profit Bay Area Legal Services provide free legal aid, counseling and representation to eligible clients for civil legal problems. Some of what they can help with includes family law, including divorce, foreclosures, custody and domestic violence;  individual rights, senior advocacy; fair housing; and consumer law and issues. Click here to read more, or call them at 813-232-1343.

Pinellas County and St. Petersburg food aid

RCS is an organization that runs the largest distribution network in Clearwater and Pinellas County Florida area. The agency is the largest distributor of free food and groceries to those in need of help in Pinellas County. In total, the group serves anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 individuals monthly at RCS’s warehouse and through 62 sub-sites located throughout the county. 727-584-3528

Other organizations that distribute free food and groceries in the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area include the following: St. Petersburg Free Clinic (727) 821-1200), Souls Harvest Fellowship (727) 323-8278), People That Love Mission  (727) 820-0775), Park Place Ministries (727) 526-3674) and As They Gathered

USDA, F.E.A.S.T. Inc. of Palm Harbor can provide free food. The non-profit will have bi-monthly distribution of items such as canned juices, vegetables, formula, spaghetti, and applications for SNAP food stamps or the USDA Commodity Program. Proof of hardship and income will be required from applicants in Pinellas County. (727) 789-5275

There are several dozen additional food banks and distribution centers in the region. Click here for alternate locations.

Help with debt and credit counseling

If you are struggling with paying your debts and bills, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Central Florida & The Florida Gulf Coast, Inc. is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to financial wellness in the St. Petersburg and Tampa area. Through a wide variety of programs, including comprehensive professional consumer credit education, debt reduction and debt management plans, foreclosure and mortgage help, confidential counseling and help for medical bills, the organization provides qualified clients the empowerment, encouragement, and success they need to take charge of their finances and expenses throughout various stages of life. Dial 1-800-251-2227 (CCCS). Or find additional ways to get debt help.

Foreclosure prevention in Pinellas County

Try the Tampa Bay CDC ((727) 446-6222), Catholic Charities, Housing Counseling (phone (727) 893-1313) and Gulfcoast Legal Services (dial (727) 821-0726). All of the agencies provide homeowners with free HUD approved foreclosure counseling, mortgage delinquency programs, and other forms of housing relief. Call one of these non-profits to learn how you can save your home from a foreclosure filing.

Another agency to try is Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services Inc. They promote home ownership, economic development, and repairs. (Call 727) 442-4155. They also partner with Florida HUD counseling agencies.

Or if these agencies can’t help you then you still have more options. They can range from additional non-profit counseling agencies up through law firms that offer pro-bono legal aid and advice. Every year homeowners receive loan modifications and are signed up into foreclosure prevention programs. Most of the services offered are provided at no cost to qualified homeowners. Find more Pinellas County foreclosure prevention agencies.

Help finding a job

The Pinellas County Urban League (727.327.2081) runs the Job Placement Assistance Center. The organization is committed to improving the quality of life of residents, and having steady employment is one of the keys to this. Contact them to learn more about employment services.

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