Payment of household bills is a crisis-intervention or emergency service offered by a number of organizations. Such assistance helps families remain in their homes or provide the utilities needed to keep people safe and healthy. Organizations that help with household bills include government agencies, faith-based organizations, and networks of assistance agencies that leverage community resources to help those in need. Some organizations have income restrictions for receiving aid, while others require aid applicants to attend financial literacy classes or other workshops related to financial management.
Local Departments of Social Services
Local departments of social services provide emergency financial assistance for rent and utility bills. Energy-assistance programs, funded in part by federal funds, help low-income families pay for heating and cooling expenses. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, known as TANF, provides federal funds to states for use by local departments of social services to help low-income families pay household bills. Some local programs help people with deposits required by utility companies.
Faith-based organizations such as churches and networks of faith organizations have outreach ministries that help people pay household bills. Depending on the organization, funds may be used to pay rent, phone bills and utility bills. An example is Catholic Charities of Baltimore, which provides financial assistance with household bills in order to help people achieve or maintain financial stability.
Nonprofit community organizations help individuals and families in need of financial assistance. Community organizations often work with local government agencies and other organizations to avoid duplication of services. For instance, Triangle Family Services is the only agency in Raleigh, North Carolina, certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, to provide case management and financial assistance to families in danger of being evicted.
Utility providers often have programs that reduce bills for eligible households or funds that help with emergency assistance for bill payment. For example, Georgia Natural Gas provides low-income seniors over 65 years of age with discounted services. PSNC Energy in North Carolina operates a Heat Care Fund that pays utility bills for needy people in their service area.
Some national nonprofit organizations offer small individual grants. Modest Needs, a national nonprofit that makes grants to individuals, provides emergency grants to help with household bills for people who are ineligible for standard low-income assistance. Wish Upon a Hero, an organization that matches people with needs with people who want to help, allows people to post wishes, such as help with financial emergencies, which others may choose to grant.
Many advocacy organizations focus on medical conditions and are concerned with all aspects of life for those who are affected. Some of the organizations have funds that help individuals and families with household bills. For instance, Sense of Security, a Colorado nonprofit organization, provides financial assistance for housing, utilities and other expenses to cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. National disease, medical condition or disability organizations, or their local chapters, may provide financial assistance to families or other resources that can help.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.