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

If you lose your job or are unemployed, you may find your Washington unemployment benefits aren’t enough to meet your family’s living expenses. Even if you receive the maximum weekly benefit amount of $681, it may not be enough to stretch beyond the most minimum necessary expenses.

Fortunately, there are several state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations that offer assistance programs to help you make ends meet until you can find a new job. Whether you’re looking for help with your rent or mortgage payment or need a helping hand putting food on the table, you’ll find the right program or agency in the list below.

Help with Healthcare and Medical Expenses in WA

Apple Health

Washington State’s Medicaid program is called Apple Health. The state expanded its eligibility under the Affordable Care Act; this means that anyone between the ages of 19 and 64 may be eligible for coverage whether or not they have dependent children living with them in the home.

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Be age 19 through 64.
  • Have annual household income at or below the Medicaid standard (see income chart below).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or meet Medicaid immigration requirements.
  • Not be incarcerated.
  • Not be entitled to Medicare.

Income requirements for Apple Health are as follows:

Program Single

person

2-person household 3-person household 4-person household 5-person household 6-person household 7-person household
Apple Health for Adults

(age 19 through 64 years of age)

$1,387

monthly

$1,868

monthly

$2,348

monthly

$2,829

monthly

$3,310

monthly

$3,790

monthly

$4,271

monthly

For more information, or to apply, visit an HCA Community-Based Specialist at a participating facility near you. You can find your local agency here or call 1-800-562-3022. You can also apply online at the Washington health plan exchange.

If your income is too high for classic Medicaid for families, you may still be able to get low-cost health insurance for your children through the Apple Health for Kids program. There is a free plan and a two-tiered premium plan depending on your income. See below for eligibility requirements:

Free coverage

(free for kids up to age 19)

Program Single

person

2-person Household 3-person Household 4-person Household 5-person Household 6-person Household 7-person Household
Apple Health for Kids $2,161

monthly

$2,910

monthly

$3,659

monthly

$4,408

monthly

$5,156

monthly

$5,905

monthly

$6,554

monthly

Low-cost coverage (two premium programs)

Program Single

person

2-person Household 3-person Household 4-person Household 5-person Household 6-person Household 7-person Household
Apple Health for Kids with premium  

($20 monthly per child; $40 family maximum)

$2,663

monthly

$3,586

monthly

$4,509

monthly

$5,433

monthly

$6,356

monthly

$7,279

monthly

$8,202

monthly

 

Program Single

person

2-person Household 3-person Household 4-person Household 5-person Household 6-person Household 7-person Household
Apple Health for Kids with premium

($30 monthly per child; $60 family maximum)

$3,186

monthly

$4,290

monthly

$5,394

monthly

$6,499

monthly

$7,603

monthly

$8,707

monthly

$9,811

monthly

For more information about how to apply, call 1-855-923-4633 or visit the health plan finder tool online.

Free and Low-Cost Health and Dental Clinics

Alternatively, if you aren’t eligible for Apple Health or other low-cost health insurance plans, you should be able to obtain free or low-cost medical and dental care at one of the many community health clinics and nonprofit organizations providing health care in the state of Washington.

These clinics typically serve the uninsured and underinsured regardless of ability to pay, although some will charge a small copayment or sliding-scale fee for services. Some are walk-in clinics while others require an appointment; be sure to call before you visit the clinic. You may also need to provide proof of identity, income, and residence.

The Washington Healthcare Access Alliance maintains a listing of free and low-cost charitable clinics in the state. Visit their website to search for a clinic near you or call them at 267-713-WHAA for assistance.

Below is a list of health care resources by county in Washington.

CLARK COUNTY

Free Clinic of Southwest Washington

4100 Plomondon Street

Vancouver, WA 98661

Regular office Hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The office is open during these hours, but health services are offered only during the times listed below.

Medical Urgent Care Clinic Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Please arrive at least 30 minutes early. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dental care is by appointment only. You must apply in person for an appointment.

KING COUNTY—SEATTLE

Sea Mar Community Health Centers

Sea Mar has over 90 medical and dental clinics and pharmacies in the state of Washington, 14 of which are in King County. The administrative office is located at 1040 S Henderson St

In Seattle and the phone number is 206-763-5277 for help finding a health center. You can also see a list of facilities in King County on the website to find a location near you.

Sea Mar CHC – Des Moines Medical Clinic
2781 S 242nd St
Des Moines, Washington 98198
Phone: 206-212-4500
Sea Mar CHC – Bellevue Medical Clinic
3801 150th Ave SE
Bellevue, Washington 98006
Phone: 425.460.7140
Sea Mar CHC – Seattle Medical Clinic
8720 14th Avenue S
Seattle, Washington 98108
Phone: 206-762-3730
Sea Mar CHC – White Center Medical Clinic
9650 15th Avenue SW, #100
Seattle, Washington 98106
Phone: 206-965-1000
Sea Mar CHC – Burien Medical Clinic
14434 Ambaum Boulevard SW
Burien, Washington 98166
Phone: 206-812-6140
Sea Mar CHC – Kent Medical Clinic
233 2nd Avenue S
Kent, Washington 98032
Phone: 206-436-6380
Sea Mar CHC – Federal Way Medical Clinic
31405 18th Ave S
Federal Way, Washington 98003
Phone: (253)681-6600

PIERCE COUNTY—TACOMA

Community Health Care

Community Health Care operates five locations in the Tacoma region and provides a full spectrum of medical, dental, and pharmacy services on a sliding-scale fee system based on income and family size.

Hilltop Regional Medical Center

1202 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Tacoma, WA 98405

Phone: (253) 597-3813

There is also an urgent care center at this location which can be reached at (253) 442-8809.

Eastside Family Medical Clinic

1708 East 44th St

Tacoma, WA 98404

Phone: (253) 471-4553

Lakewood Clinic

10510 Gravelly Lake Dr.

Lakewood, WA 98444

(253) 589-7030

Parkland Clinic

11225 Pacific Avenue

Tacoma, WA 98444

Phone: (253) 536-2020

Spanaway Clinic

134 188th Street South

Tacoma, WA 98387

Phone: (253) 847-2304

SNOHOMISH COUNTY—EVERETT

Community Health Center of Snohomish County

There are five locations in the county that offer affordable health and dental care, including urgent care, on a sliding-scale basis based on income and family size.

Arlington Clinic

326 S. Stillaguamish Ave

Arlington, WA 98223

Phone: (360) 572-5400

Edmonds Clinic

23320 Hwy. 99

Edmonds, WA 98026

Phone: (425) 640-5500

Everett North

1424 Broadway

Everett, WA 98201

Phone: (425) 789-2000

Everett South

1019 112th St. SW

Everett, WA 98204

Phone: (425) 551-6200

Lynnwood Clinic

4111 194th St. SW

Lynnwood, WA 98036

Phone: (425) 835-5200

SPOKANE COUNTY

Community Health Association Spokane (CHAS)

CHAS is a federally qualified community health center that provides high-quality medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services to families and individuals of all ages, regardless of insurance status. They currently serve about 52,000 people in Spokane County across 12 different locations. You can use the online locator tool to find a provider and facility near you or call the central appointment line at 509.444.8200. The 24-hour nurse hotline is 866.418.1002.

Cash Assistance in WA

The state cash assistance program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is part of the Washington WorkFirst benefits system. If you have dependent children living in the home, or are pregnant, you may qualify for a monthly grant under the WorkFirst program. You must meet income and financial resources requirements as well as citizenship or alien status requirements.

Number of Family Members
Maximum Earned Income Level
Number of Family Members
Maximum Monthly Earned Income Level
1
$665
6
$1,604
2
839
7
1,853
3
1,042
8
2,051
4
1,225
9
2,252
5
1,413
10 or more
2,448

To be eligible for TANF, your family must have resources of $1,000 or less. Resources are things like:

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Stocks, bonds, or mutual funds
  • Vehicle equity over $5,000

To see if you may be eligible for cash benefits under WorkFirst, use this eligibility calculator or call 1-877-501-2233 for more information. You can also apply in person at your local Community Services Office (you can search for the closest office here).

Walk-in services are available from 8am – 5pm every business day. If you check in by 2pm, you will be served that same day. Lobby Navigators are available to assist with routine items. Online services will be available until 5pm.

You can also complete your application for benefits online.

You will be expected to participate in work-search related activities. If you participate in the WorkFirst program, you may also receive assistance with:

  • Work clothing
  • Transportation
  • Educational expenses
  • Vehicle repair
  • Tools and equipment
  • Relocation expenses

You can read more about the WorkFirst program and benefits, including all eligibility requirements, in the online brochure here.

If you qualify for benefits, but decide you don’t want ongoing assistance, you may also apply for Diversion Cash Assistance, which is a cash grant of $1,250 that you may receive once in every 12-month period to help you with immediate needs.

If you don’t qualify for WorkFirst benefits (and in some cases, even if you do), you may be eligible for crisis and emergency grants under the Additional Resources for Emergency Needs (AREN)program. AREN grants are up to $750 and may be received once per 12-month period. The funds can be used for rent, utilities, and other basic necessities.

Talk to your local Community Service Office for more information.

Rent and Mortgage Assistance in WA

MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE

The Washington State Bar Association has teamed up with the Northwest Justice Project to help homeowners in crisis in Washington save their homes with the Home Foreclosure Prevention Project. The program offers free legal assistance, mediation, and home modification counseling services to affected individuals and families.

For more information and to get help now, call 1-877-894-HOME. If you are within two weeks of the sale of your home, call 1-800-606-4819 for screening and to speak with the Foreclosure Prevention Unit.

The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle also offers foreclosure prevention services to Seattle and King County residents, including loan modification programs and mediation.

Contact them at:

105 14th Avenue

Suite 200

Seattle, WA 98122

Phone: (206) 461-3792

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers foreclosure prevention services through affiliated agencies and organizations in Washington State. To speak to a HUD-approved foreclosure counselor, call 1-877-894-HOME (4663). These services are provided free of charge. It’s a good idea to call as soon as you get behind on your mortgage payments in order to have the most options to avoid foreclosure.

ASSISTANCE WITH RENT/EVICTION

The state’s Commerce Department administers a Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program that provides targeted, very low-income households with utility, deposit, and rent costs for up to two years. If a household is unable to leave the program after two years, their assistance may be renewed if funding allows.

For more information or to apply for aid, contact your local community service provider (see this list for the agency nearest you).

You may also apply for Additional Resources for Emergency Needs (AREN) funds, which may be up to $750 in any 12-month period. You can find information on how to apply on the Washington Department of Health and Social Services website here. To complete your application online, visit the Washington Connections website.

Here’s a list of local agencies and nonprofit organizations by county that you can contact for emergency assistance with rent or eviction in Washington.

CLARK COUNTY

Clark County Community Action Program

The Community Action Program administers Emergency Solutions Grant funding to help people pay their rent and avoid eviction in addition to other services to low income families (including energy assistance, food assistance, legal services, and employment assistance).

Grant and assistance applications are handled through the Clark County Council for the Homeless. Call the Housing Hotline at 360-695-9677 for more information about obtaining assistance. All programs are based on federal poverty guidelines.

KING COUNTY

Hopelink is a nonprofit organization that provides a wide variety of emergency and crisis relief programs, including financial assistance, help with rent or eviction, food, and help paying your utilities. They also offer employment services.

Below is a list of locations. Centers are open for services Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm except as noted.

Bellevue Food Bank and Emergency Services

14812 Main St.

Bellevue, Washington 98007

P: 425.943.7555

Kirkland/Northshore Food Bank and Emergency Services

11011 120th Ave. NE

Kirkland, Washington 98033

P: 425.889.7880

Redmond Food Bank and Emergency Services

16725 Cleveland St Redmond, Washington 98052

P: 425.882.0241

Shoreline Food Bank and Emergency Services

17837 Aurora Avenue N.

Shoreline, Washington 98133

P: 206.440.7300

Sno-Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services (Closed on Fridays)

31957 East Commercial St

P.O. Box 485

Carnation, Washington 98014

P: 425.333.4163

PIERCE COUNTY

Metropolitan Development Center

945 Fawcett Ave

Tacoma, Washington

98402

Phone: 253-383-3921

The MDC offers a housing program that may be able to assist you with rent. They also offer healthcare and employment services.

Catholic Community Services may also be able to offer emergency assistance for rent and other housing needs. Call them at (253) 383-3697 for more information.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Salvation Army Everett Corps

2525 Rucker Ave.

Everett, WA 98201

Phone: (425) 259-8129

The Salvation Army may provide emergency rent assistance if funds are available. They can also help with food and utility bills as funding permits.

SPOKANE COUNTY

Solid Ground

1501 North 45th Street

Seattle, WA 98103-6708

Phone: 206.694.6700

In order to qualify for rental assistance, you must: 1) live in King County, 2) have income at or below 30% or 50% of Area Median Income and 3) be on the verge of losing your housing or becoming homeless.

Help with Childcare and Education Expenses in WA

If you qualify for and participate in the WorkFirst program, you may also qualify for the childcare subsidy program. DSHS can help pay for:

  • Licensed or certified child care centers
  • Licensed or certified family child care homes
  • Relatives who provide care in their own homes
  • Adults who come to your home to provide care

You must meet certain income requirements and there may be a copay for childcare depending on income.

Table from the Washington Department of Health and Human Services

You may apply by calling 1-877-501-2233 or online at Online Application for Services or in person at your local Community Services Office.

Help Paying Your Utility Bills in WA

The Washington Commerce Department administers funds for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

To qualify, you must be a resident of the state and have not already received a grant during the current program year (October through June). You must also pay utility costs either through your rent payment or directly to a vendor.

Income limits are below:

Household Size* Maximum Income Level (Per Year)
1 $14,850
2 $20,025
3 $25,200
4 $30,375
5 $35,550
6 $40,725
7 $45,912
8 $51,112

LIHEAP grants are paid directly to your energy vendor and vary based on income and family size.

You can apply to the LIHEAP provider in your area. Use this map to locate the agency or organization nearest you. You can also start the screening process online and schedule an appointment on the Commerce website.

Grants are usually used to offset heating costs, although in some cases, there may be funding available to repair or replace a dysfunctional heating system.

Depending on your income level, your utility provider may also have special rates and discounts available. In Washington, all of the Public Utility Districts (PUDs) participate in some type of assistance programs for low-income, elderly, and/or disabled residents.

Locate your utility provider on this list and click to find contact information for the energy assistance program.

Below are some of the larger PUDs and utility companies in the state:

AVISTA (call (800) 227-9187)

  • Avista CARES
  • Project Share
  • Energy Assistance Grants

BENTON COUNTY PUD (call 509-582-1234)

  • Helping Hands

CLARK PUBLIC UTILITIES (call 360-992-3000)

  • Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Operation Warm Heart

COLUMBIA REA (call 509-382-2578)

  • Low income discount

JEFFERSON COUNTY PUD (call (360) 385.5800)

  • Low income credit $35/month

PACIFIC COUNTY PUD  (call (360) 942-2411)

  • Project Warm Heart

PACIFIC POWER (call 1-888-221-7070.)

  • Bill assistance
  • Payment plans

PUGET SOUND ENERGY (call 888-225-5773)

  • Project HELP
  • Weatherization

SEATTLE CITY LIGHT ((206)684-3417)

  • Emergency low income assistance
  • Project SHARE

Income guidelines for Seattle City Light assistance programs below:

Household Size Gross Monthly Income Gross Yearly Income
1 $2,658 $31,896
2 $3,476 $41,712
3 $4,293 $51,516
4 $5,111 $61,332
5 $5,929 $71,148
6 $6,747 $80,964
7 $6,900 $82,800
8 $7,053 $84,636
9 $7,207 $86,484
10 $7,360 $88,320
Each Additional $153 $1,833

SNOHOMISH PUD (call 425-783-1000)

  • Low income discounts
  • Project PRIDE

Income guidelines for Snohomish PUD assistance:

Under 62 years of age Monthly Income Annual Income
  Household size:

1 person

$1,256.25 $15,075
  2 people $1,691.67 $20,300
  3 people $2,127.08 $25,525
  4 people $2,562.50 $30,750
  5 people $2,997.92 $35,975
  6 people $3,433.33 $41,200
  7 people $3,868.75 $46,245
  Each additional

person, ADD:

$435.42 $5,225

Help with Groceries and Food in WA

Basic Food (Washington’s SNAP program)

Washington’s Basic Food program provides benefits to low-income families to help them buy food. Effective January 2016, the state instituted an Able Bodied Adults without Dependents work requirement that applies to individuals between the ages of 18 and 49 who apply for benefits. In order to receive Basic Food, you will need to participate in work-related activities.

Income requirements and maximum benefit allotments are below:

 

EFFECTIVE 10/1/2016
Column A

Number of Eligible AU Members

Column B

Maximum Gross

Monthly Income

Column C

Maximum Net

Monthly Income

Column D

Maximum

Allotment

Column E

165% of

Poverty Level

1 $1,287 $990 $194 $1,634
2 1,736 1,335 357 2,203
3 2,184 1,680 511 2,772
4 2,633 2,025 649 3,342
5 3,081 2,370 771 3,911
6 3,530 2,715 925 4,480
7 3,980 3,061 1,022 5,051
8 4,430 3,408 1,169 5,623
9 4,881 3,755 1,315 6,195
10 5,332 4,102 1,461 6,767
Each Additional Member +451 +347 +146 +572

You can apply for Basic Food benefits online or in person at your local community service office (find your nearest office here).

 

Washington Women Infants and Children (WIC)

There are over 200 WIC clinics across the state of Washington helping pregnant and nursing mothers and children under age five. In 2016, almost half of all babies born in Washington State were on the WIC program.

WIC helps low-income families with:

  • Nutrition education
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Monthly checks for healthy food
  • Health screenings and referrals
    Number of

    people in your

    household*

    Maximum annual

    income to

    qualify

    Maximum monthly

    income to

    qualify

    2 $29,637 $2,470
    3 $37,296 $3,108
    4 $44,955 $3,747
    5 $52,614 $4,385
    6 $60,273 $5,023
    7 $67,951 $5,663

    *If you are pregnant, include each unborn child in household size.

    To find a WIC Clinic near you, call 1-800-322-2588 or text “WIC” to 96859.

    Food Pantries and Banks in Washington

    Northwest Harvest is the state’s hunger relief program, a nonprofit organization of over 375 food banks and meal programs across the state. You can find a food bank or program near you using this online locator tool or call them at 1.877.353.7469.

    FoodPantries.org is a website that will help you search for food pantries and kitchens in your area.  You can get immediate assistance with hot meals or groceries for you and your family at many of the organizations listed on their site.

Additional Aid and Resources by City and County in WA

CLARK COUNTY

Interfaith Treasure House

The mission of Inter-Faith Treasure House is to help the less fortunate in the local community by providing food, clothing, and emergency assistance to children and their families who are in crisis.

91 C Street

Washougal, WA 98671

To request assistance call: 360.834.4181

KING COUNTY—SEATTLE

Catholic Community Services

Catholic Community Services helps individuals and families in crisis with the following services:

  • Rental Assistance and Eviction Prevention
  • Move-in Assistance
  • Utility Assistance and Shut-off Prevention
  • Information & Resource Referral
  • Short-term Case Management
  • Emergency Motel Vouchers (families with children under 18 only)
  • Food Bags and Cards (based on availability)
  • Bus Tickets (based on availability)

Locations:

100 23rd Ave S

Seattle, WA 98144

(206) 323-6336

11061 NE 2nd St.

Bellevue, WA  98004

(425) 213-1963

1229 W. Smith St.

Kent, WA  98032

(253) 854-0077

PIERCE COUNTY—TACOMA

Pierce County Community Action Program

The Pierce County CAP offers housing services and utilities assistance as well as help with early childhood education and employment services.

Downtown Office

1305 Tacoma Ave S.

253-798-4500

Sound View Office

3602 Pacific Ave.

253-798-4400

Aging & Disability

Resource Center

253-798-4600

SNOHOMISH COUNTY—EVERETT

Family Center of South Snohomish County

6330 195th St. SW

Lynnwood, WA 98036

425-670-8984

The Family Center is part of Lutheran Community Services Northwest and provides assistance to families in crisis with medical and dental care and referrals to partner agencies that may be able to provide additional emergency assistance.

SPOKANE COUNTY—SPOKANE

Spokane Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP)

SNAP connects individuals and families with the assistance they need to keep their utilities connected and avoid eviction. They also make referrals to other agencies to provide additional assistance to families in crisis.

SNAP Fort Wright

3102 W. Fort George Wright Drive

Spokane, WA 99224

Phone: (509) 456-SNAP (7627)

SNAP East (Fifth & Stone: inside East Central Community Center)

500 S. Stone

Spokane, WA 99202

Phone: (509) 456-SNAP (7627)

SNAP Downtown

212 S. Wall

Spokane, WA  99201

Phone: (509) 456-SNAP (7627)

SNAP Northeast (inside the Northeast Community Center)

4001 N. Cook

Spokane, WA 99207

Phone: (509) 456-SNAP (7627)

SNAP Armory

212 W. Second

Spokane, WA  99201

Phone: (509) 456-SNAP (7627)