Assistance Programs in Ohio – Get Help with Rent, Health, Bills and More

Ohio unemployment benefits are set by the legislature each year and at $443 to $598 per week, many people find it difficult to cover basic necessities, especially if it takes more than a couple weeks to find a new job.

Fortunately, there are public and private organizations and nonprofit agencies that can help if you are in a difficult financial spot. Whether you need help with your mortgage, utilities, food, health care or even childcare and other supplies, you will usually be able to find an organization near you to give you a helping hand.

Help with Healthcare and Medical Expenses in OH

Medicaid

The Ohio Medicaid program is available to low income individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements:

  • You must be a resident of Ohio.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States or meet Medicaid’s citizenship requirements.
  • You must have a Social Security number.

There are several different Medicaid programs in Ohio, including a managed care plan, a spend-down program, and Healthchek for children, and each has different income guidelines:

Source: Ohio Medicaid Department

You can apply for Medicaid in four ways:

If you are not a citizen, you may qualify for Refugee Medical Assistance or Alien Emergency Medical Assistance.

To see if you qualify for Medicaid in Ohio, you can use this online prescreening tool. If you have any questions about the Medicaid program, call the Ohio Medicaid Consumer Hotline at 800-324-8680.

Help with Prescription Drugs in Ohio

If you need help paying for prescription drugs, all residents of Ohio are eligible for the Ohio Best Rx card, which offers discounted prices at participating pharmacies on a variety of commonly prescribed medications. There is no cost for the card and you can apply online at the link above.

The Ohio Drug Card is another free discount prescription program open to any Ohio resident. Visit the website to apply.  

In addition, many of the free and low cost health and dental clinics detailed in the section below offer free or deeply discounted prescription medications to their patients. If you need help paying for prescription drugs, be sure to ask your provider if there is any medication assistance available.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY – CLEVELAND

Circle Health Services/The People’s Clinic

This clinic provides free medical and dental care plus behavioral health services to uninsured and underinsured individuals, as well as those covered under Medicaid. You’ll need to bring the following with you to your registration visit, which is required before you can schedule a health or dental care appointment:

  • Valid state ID
  • Proof of income (pay stubs, tax forms, etc.) – they determine your income by looking at the ways you are supported, even if you are not working.
  • Insurance card, if relevant
  • Proof of family size (birth certificates of children, tax forms, etc.)

Call (216) 721-4010 to schedule your registration appointment to see if you qualify for free care. Registration appointments and walk-in hours are available Monday – Friday between 9:30am-2:30pm.

Circle Health Services

12201 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44106

P: (216) 721-4010

Metrohealth Medical Centers

Metrohealth has several locations in the Cleveland area and they have various financial assistance programs to help low-income and uninsured individuals and families access affordable medical care. Below is a list of their sliding scale based on income:

Income as compared to

Federal Poverty Guidelines

Reduction Applied to MetroHealth’s Bill
0-100% 100% Resident State of Ohio
100% Non-Resident of State of Ohio for Emergency, Trauma or Burn Care
75% Non-Resident State of Ohio for all other services
101-300% 100% Resident of Cuyahoga County
100% Non-Resident of Cuyahoga County for Emergency, Trauma or Burn Care
75% Non-Resident of Cuyahoga County for all other services
301 – 400% 75% Resident of Cuyahoga County
75% Non-Resident of Cuyahoga County for Emergency, Trauma or Burn Care
75% Non-Resident of Cuyahoga County for all other services
401% and above without insurance coverage 65% Resident of Cuyahoga County

50% Non-Resident of Cuyahoga County

For patients whose income is at or below (0%  to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) and meets all additional eligibility criteria, The MetroHealth System participates in Ohio’s Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP), with 100% reduction of the bill.

To learn more about the financial assistance programs, please call 216-957-2325, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

You can see a list of their locations here.

FRANKLIN COUNTY – COLUMBUS

Heart of Ohio Family Health

Heart of Ohio offers complete family medicine services including OB-GYN and pediatrics care on a sliding-scale basis to individuals and families who are at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines. Fees start at a flat $25 payment and are discounted between 20% and 60% depending on income and family size.

You will need to apply for the sliding scale fees before you receive care. You can read more about their sliding-scale policy and see a list of documents you will need to bring when you apply here.

Whitehall

Family Health Center

Phone: (614) 235-5555
882 S. Hamilton Road

Columbus, OH 43213

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

Tuesday

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

8:00 AM- 7:00 PM

Friday 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Capital Park

Family Health Center

Phone: (614) 416-4325
2365 Innis Road

Columbus, OH 43224

Monday-Wednesday

Thursday

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

HAMILTON COUNTY – CINCINNATI

The City of Cincinnati Health Department offers primary health care and dental care clinics for low-income, unemployed, uninsured and/or underinsured individuals, including immunizations, chronic disease management, and dental cleanings. They also provide free or discounted medications to those who qualify.

Health clinics are below:


Dental clinics are below:

LUCAS COUNTY – TOLEDO

Neighborhood Health Association

The NHA offers a full range of primary care and specialty medical services on a sliding scale basis. There are 13 locations throughout Toledo, including a women’s center, pediatrics clinics, and senior care centers,

The main office is located at:

313 Jefferson Avenue

Toledo, OH

Call 419.720.7883, ext. 200 for more information or to find a location near you.  

SUMMIT COUNTY – AKRON

AxessPointe Community Health Centers

This organization has several locations in and around Akron and offers a complete range of medical and dental care services and behavioral health. Fees are based on income:

Source: AxessPointe website

To contact any of their sites or for after-hours service, please call 888-975-9188.

Cash Assistance in OH

Ohio families and individuals with low incomes or who are in a financial crisis due to unemployment or other event may qualify for Ohio Works First (OWF), the cash assistance benefits under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). There are several requirements for eligibility:

  • You must have a dependent child living in the home (if you are a woman at least six months pregnant, you may also qualify).
  • You must be a US citizen and all members of the family must have a Social Security number.
  • You must meet income and asset requirements (as of July 2016, the gross monthly income limit for a family of three was $840).
  • You must comply with work requirements and sign a self-sufficiency contract.
  • There is a 36-month lifetime limit on OWF benefits.

You can apply online through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services self-service portal or in person at your local ODJFS office.

In this online brochure, you can learn more about the OWF program and other ODJFS benefits. There is also a document checklist and application for benefits you can download and use to apply for assistance.

MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

Save the Dream Ohio is a multi-agency foreclosure prevention program that helps families who are struggling to make their mortgage payment or facing foreclosure due to unemployment or underemployment.

Ohio is one of 16 states that received funding under the Hardest Hit Fund; since the program’s inception in 2008, Save the Dream Ohio has received over $760 million to help homeowners in the state.

While each person’s situation is different, you may be able to receive a maximum of $35,000 to either help bring your mortgage current or make your mortgage payments for up to 9 months.

You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:

  • Annual income must be below $112,435.
  • Mortgage must be below $432,000.
  • The homeowner or spouse must have been laid off and eligible for unemployment on or after January 1, 2014.

You can read more about the eligibility guidelines and program options here.

To apply, complete this pre-screening questionnaire. If you qualify, you will automatically be directed to the application. Call 888-404-4674 for more information.

You can also contact the Ohio Housing Finance Authority (OHFA) for information on other foreclosure prevention programs and counseling options.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency

57 E. Main St.

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Office Hours: 8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday

Toll Free: 888.362.6432

Phone: 614.466.7970

If you do not qualify, be sure to check the additional resources in this section and at the bottom of the page to see if there are other nonprofit organizations in your area that can help you with your mortgage payment if you become unemployed.

ASSISTANCE WITH RENT/EVICTION

Below is a list of organizations by city and county that may be able to help you with your rent or mortgage payments if you get behind.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY – CLEVELAND

Cleveland Tenants Organization (CTO)

CTO offers a program known as PRC (Prevention, Retention, Contingency) that provides one-time funds for emergency situations such as eviction or foreclosure. The program is managed by the Department of Employment and Family Services; if you already have a caseworker with that agency, contact him or her directly to apply. If you don’t have a caseworker, call (216) 987-7000 and ask about PRC.

CLEVELAND TENANTS ORGANIZATION

5700 BROADWAY

CLEVELAND, OH 44127

MONDAY – FRIDAY

9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

FRANKLIN COUNTY – COLUMBUS

Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services

The department offers emergency grants and assistance to families facing eviction and may have access to other funding programs to provide crisis aid.

Administrative Office

1721 Northland Park Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43229

Phone: (614) 233-2000

Fax: (614) 233-2398

Hours of Operation

Mon-Fri: 7:30a.m. – 5p.m.

HAMILTON COUNTY – CINCINNATI

City of Cincinnati Department of Community and Economic Development

The department can offer one-time emergency grants of up to $2,500 to help prevent foreclosure and eviction. They also offer financial counseling and housing referral services.

Department of Community Development

805 Central Ave., Suite 700

Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Phone: 513-352-2435

Fax: 513-352-6113

E-mail: communitydevelopment@cincinnati-oh.gov

LUCAS COUNTY – TOLEDO

Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo

When funding permits, Catholic Charities may provide emergency aid for rent and other basic needs. They also make referrals to other organizations that may be able to offer assistance.

Toledo Office

1933 Spielbusch Ave.

Toledo, OH

419-244-4860

Norwalk Office

48 Executive Drive

Norwalk, OH

419-668-3073

Mansfield Office

2 Smith Ave.

Mansfield, OH

419-524-0733

Sandusky Office

428 Tiffin Ave.

Sandusky, OH

419-502-0043

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – DAYTON

Montgomery County Family Services Department

Family Services administers PRC (Prevention, Retention, Contingency) funds, a one-time grant to help families in crisis pay expenses for basic needs including:

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Automobile repairs
  • Utilities
  • Home repairs
  • Emergency shelter
  • Tools, equipment for employment
  • License and testing fees
  • Uniforms for work or school
  • Job coaching, job retention

Grants can only be received once per 12-month period and you must meet income requirements to apply.

No appointment is needed, but you must have a face-to-face interview with a caseworker at The Job Center. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You must show up by 3 p.m. for a same-day interview with the PRC program.

The Job Center

1111 Edwin Moses Blvd.

Dayton, OH

Voice: 937-225-4148

SUMMIT COUNTY – AKRON

Summit County Department of Job and Family Services

DJFS offers the PRC grant, a one-time emergency assistance payment to help families in crisis with basic expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, and other necessities. You must meet income guidelines to apply:

PRC FPG 200% (Foreclosure assistance is 300%)

Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Maximum Gross Monthly Income 1,980 2,670 3,360 4,050 4,740 5,430 6,122 6,815

Summit County Department of Job and Family Services

1180 S. Main Street, Suite 102

Akron, OH 44301-1256

Telephone:

330 643 8200 (local)

800 573 8080 (toll-free)

Building hours:

Monday through Friday

7:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Help with Childcare and Education Expenses in OH

If you qualify for OWF or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Ohio and meet the work requirements, you may apply for help paying your child care expenses. Depending on your income and family size, you may pay nothing for your child care.

If you exceed federal poverty levels, you pay a sliding-scale co-payment. Families with incomes in excess of 300% of FPL are not eligible for assistance. See the table below:

You can download the application here. You can also apply in person at your local Department of Job and Family Services; contact your local office for more information.

Help Paying Your Utility Bills in OH

If you have trouble paying your utility bills, you may qualify for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which is a federally funded program that pays your energy provider directly to offset your costs.

You can download an application here. You can also apply at your local Department of Job and Family Services office.

Help with Groceries and Food in OH

Ohio SNAP (Food Stamps)

If you meet income requirements, you may qualify for Ohio SNAP benefits to help offset the cost of your groceries. You must meet the following income guidelines to qualify:

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $15,444
2 $20,826
3 $26,208
4 $31,590
5 $36,972
6 $42,354
7 $47,749
8 $53,157

You can apply online at the Ohio Self Service online portal. If you prefer, you can apply in person at your local Department of Job and Family Services. Contact your local agency for more information.

Even if you don’t qualify for ongoing SNAP benefits, you may apply for The Emergency Food Assistance Program which provides emergency food on an as-needed basis. See the link above for your local TEFAP agency.  

Ohio WIC

The Ohio Women Infants and Children (WIC) is administered by the Ohio Department of Health and is available to families with children age five and younger, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.

The program provides funds for the purchase of specific foods and infant formula, including fruits, vegetables, cheese, cereal, meat and other proteins, plus infant foods.

In order to be eligible for WIC, you must meet the following income guidelines:                                                                                

Economic Unit Annually Monthly Twice Monthly Biweekly Weekly
1      $21,978         $1,832 $916 $846 $423
2 29,637 2,470 1,235 1,140 570
3 37,296 3,108 1,554 1,435 718
4 44,955 3,747 1,874 1,730 865
5 52,614 4,385 2,193 2,024 1,012
6 60,273 5,023 2,512 2,319 1,160
7 67,951 5,663 2,832 2,614 1,307
8 75,647 6,304 3,152 2,910 1,455

(Revised July, 2016)

You can print an application here and mail it to your local WIC clinic, or you can apply in person. Please note that even if you mail in your application, you will have to have an in-person application before you can enroll in the program.

For more information, call 1-800-755-GROW (4769).

Food Banks in Ohio

The Ohio Association of Food Banks is the state’s largest coalition of charitable food providers. Each of the 12 regional food banks partners with local food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other agencies to provide food to consumers.

To find an organization near you, click on the link above and locate your county. From there, you’ll be able to find a list of food pantries near you where you can get food.

You can also check with the agencies listed in the next section for assistance with groceries and baby supplies.

Additional Aid and Resources by City and County in OH

If you are unable to find the help you need with the organizations and resources above, try one of these nonprofit organizations in your area. In many cases, they have crisis and emergency relief funds for help with utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, food, clothing, baby needs, health care services, and referrals to other agencies that may be able to assist you.

CUYAHOGA COUNTY – CLEVELAND

Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland

The Diocese provides Emergency Assistance services including help with rent and utilities payments. You must meet income guidelines (200% of federal poverty levels or below) in order to receive cash assistance. The Diocese also offers a food pantry and clothing closet for families in need.

For more information, contact:

Melissa Sirak, Program Coordinator

Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center

1736 Superior Avenue East

Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: 216.781.8262

FRANKLIN COUNTY – COLUMBUS

The Columbus Urban League

The Urban League is a great resource for struggling families. In addition to helping families avoid foreclosure and eviction, they are a great place to get referrals to other agencies in Columbus who may have funds for direct emergency aid for rent, utilities, health care, medications, transportation, and food.

Columbus Urban League

788 Mount Vernon Avenue

Columbus, OH | 43203

Phone: 614-257-6300

HAMILTON COUNTY – CINCINNATI

The Salvation Army of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

The Salvation Army offers emergency assistance that can be used for the following basic needs:

  • Food
  • Clothing vouchers
  • Utility & Rent Assistance
  • Bus Tokens
  • Support services for employment and housing
  • Referrals for other needs, such as birth certificates and photo IDs

Please note that you must apply for emergency assistance in person at the location that serves your ZIP code; you can find your location here.

If you need more information, contact the administrative office:

114 E. Central Parkway

Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: 513-762-5600

LUCAS COUNTY – TOLEDO

Christ the King Church

Christ the King has an emergency assistance fund to help low income families and those in crisis with basic needs. Funding may not always be available, but they may be able to provide referrals to other organizations that can help you.

4100 Harvest Lane

Toledo, OH 43623-4399

Phone: (419) 475-4348

Parish Office Hours:

Monday – Thursday:  8:30 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday:   8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo

When funding permits, Catholic Charities may provide emergency aid for rent and other basic needs. They also make referrals to other organizations that may be able to offer assistance.

Toledo Office

1933 Spielbusch Ave.

Toledo, OH

Phone: 419-244-4860

Norwalk Office

48 Executive Drive

Norwalk, OH

Phone: 419-668-3073

Mansfield Office

2 Smith Ave.

Mansfield, OH

Phone: 419-524-0733

Sandusky Office

428 Tiffin Ave.

Sandusky, OH

Phone: 419-502-0043

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – DAYTON

St. Vincent de Paul Dayton

St. Vincent de Paul helps with housing, food, clothing, and other basic necessities. The society administers aid through its conferences. There are 35 conferences with over 950 Vincentians in the Dayton area who work with families and individuals to help meet their needs.

To get assistance, enter your ZIP code on this page to find the conference in your area. Dial the contact number and leave a message; someone from SVP will get in touch with you in the next 24 to 48 hours.

For general questions and more information, contact the administrative office:

124 West Apple Street

Dayton, OH 45402

Phone: 937.222.7349

If you need clothing or household goods, visit the community stores:

945 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd.

Dayton, OH 45417

Phone: 937.222.5555

4825 Salem Ave.

Dayton, OH 45416

Phone: 937.630.3993

SUMMIT COUNTY – AKRON

The Salvation Army of Summit County

The Salvation Army has rent assistance, utilities assistance, food pantry, and thrift stores. Income guidelines apply to cash assistance and you can only receive assistance once in a 12-month period. You must make an appointment to apply for emergency aid.

Hudson Presbyterian Church

201 West Streetsboro Street

Hudson, OH 44236-2769

Phone: 330-802-4309

Office Hours By Appointment Only