Stretch Your Dollar: Free and Low Cost Services

Take Charge! California

Take Charge California! now offers even more ways to save you money and make your life easier.

Be Smart: Know where to find free or discounted goods and services.

Government entities and private organizations have all kinds of programs and services at reduced rates or even free. But how do you know what services are out there and how to apply for them?

It starts with knowing where to look. Here are some contacts to help you begin your search. Remember, some programs and services are reserved for people with limited or low incomes. Ask the program's representatives for details.

Be Safe: Make sure you're dealing with a legitimate source.

There are a lot of scams out there right now. Whether you're looking for a job, applying for assistance or buying merchandise, identity thieves are hoping that you'll trade your important information for a fake deal that sounds good.

Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Legitimate businesses, including banks, federal and state institutions and others will NEVER ask you for personal information over the phone or via e-mail.

Be Heard: Speak up and speak out!

If you feel like someone has tried to steal your personal information over the phone, by mail or online, speak up! Contact the United States Postal Service at for mail fraud, and the Federal Trade Commission at for fraud via phone or Internet.

We will update this list periodically. If you know of some great web sites to add to our list, speak out! Contact us at or (800) 952-5210.



Benefits QuickLink
Benefits QuickLINK helps you find public benefits near you. Step1: Answer Benefits QuickLINK questions. Step 2: Get applications. Step 3: Apply for programs to help you and your family members in your care. Take advantage of many other free services and publications on AARP's Benefits QuickLINK web site.

Money Management Program
This program offers daily money management service to help low-income older or disabled people who have difficulty budgeting, paying routine bills, and keeping track of financial matters. Visit AARP's web site to find more information about this program.

AARP Tax-Aid is the nation's largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service available to taxpayers with low- and moderate-income, with special attention to those ages 60 and older.

Real Relief
In these uncertain economic times, AARP and the AARP Foundation stand ready to help you stay focused on your long-tern financial goals while providing you with immediate solutions and assistance. Real Relief has several free resources available to help you find a job, control your home budget, find job training, and many more valuable resources.


Been in an auto accident?
Consumers whose vehicles receive auto body repairs after a collision can get a free inspection by a Department of Consumer Affairs' Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) representative to determine if the auto body repairs were performed as described in the final invoice. Auto body Inspection Program

Can't Pass Smog Check?
Vehicle owners are required to pass a Smog Check to complete their vehicle registration with DMV. Consumers whose vehicles fail a biennial smog check inspection may obtain up to $500 in emissions-related repairs or $1,000 to retire their car, based on eligibility through the Department of Consumer Affairs' Bureau of Automotive Repair's Consumer Assistance Program. Consumer Assistance Program (CAP)

Department of Insurance
The Department of Insurance offers low-cost auto insurance to consumers. Department of Insurance Low Cost Auto Insurance

Got a Lemon?
Are you driving a lemon? The Department of Consumer Affairs' Arbitration Certification Program (ACP) certifies free arbitration programs that may refund your money or repair or replace your vehicle. The ACP also provides free educational services designed to prepare you for arbitration. Arbitration Certification Program (ACP)

Vehicle license fees (VLF)
Want to know how much you paid in Vehicle license fees (VLF) last year? They may be deductible on your income tax return. Check out this DMV calculator at


Looking for a free or low-cost makeover or haircut?
Don't get discouraged from getting a beauty makeover because of costs typically associated with a nice hair cut color or manicure service. Here's a beauty secret: Most cosmetology and barber schools offer the same services as your day-to-day salon or barbershop, but at low discounted prices. Some schools may even offer free beauty services if you contact them at the right time. The service is typically performed by cosmetology or barber school students but is supervised and directed by licensed professionals who make sure you get the look you want. To find a school near you, visit the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology's "Approved Schools" listing online at Department of Consumer Affairs – Board of Barbering and Cosmetology

Consumer Protection

211 (Info Line), County of Los Angeles
211 is an easy to remember, three-digit dialing code that enables a caller to access more than 28,000 health and human service programs throughout Los Angeles County 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and is TTY accessible. 211 LA County, formerly known as INFO LINE of Los Angeles, has been providing these services since 1981.

Department of Consumer Affairs
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is home to more than 40 boards and bureaus that regulate and license more than 100 businesses, 255 professions and more than 2.4 million licensees in the State. DCA has a toll-free number (800) 952-5210, where consumers can obtain valuable consumer and licensee information. DCA phone agents offer assistance in English, Spanish and more than 177 languages. They can also send you free publications, license applications and much more. Are you interested in having a guest speaker come to your organization or club? Contact our Outreach Unit to schedule an expert speaker from one of our more than 40 boards and bureaus. DCA's main web site is

Federal Information Center
Offering free publications, information and resources, all from the federal government.

Free consumer publications
The Department of Consumer Affairs offers information in more than 200 publications, many in multiple languages, almost all free. These publications will help educate you on your consumer rights and provide you with valuable information to help make that next smart purchase and help you avoid scams rip-offs. DCA also produces the award-winning Consumer Connection magazine four times a year, which offers up-to-the-minute consumer news and advice. You can view it online or call (866) 320-8652 for a free copy. To learn more, go to DCA Publications

Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs (LA DCA)
The LA DCA is home to dozens of free and low-income services for Los Angeles County residents; There toll-free number offers lots of information either through a live agent during normal business hours or a robust automated 24/7 service that has dozens of topics from the experts. They feature self-help legal access centers, elder financial abuse prevention services, small claims court advisors, and so much more. They also provide free speakers to come out to your business or club and give your group a presentation on how to avoid scams or file a consumer complaint. You can even learn how to become one of their volunteers, and give back to your community. To learn more, contact LA DCA toll free at (800) 593-8222 or go online at Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs

National Do Not Call Registry
Stop telemarketers from calling you by registering with the FCC.

Sutter County Low-Cost and No-Cost Services
Residents of Sutter County can find out about low- and no-cost services by going online to

WE Connect
WE Connect has tons of valuable free and low-cost services for consumers. Check out the many services for money savings, opportunities, and dreams at We Connect.

Crisis Counseling

Crisis Counseling
Short-term counseling may be available for emotional or mental health problems from the California Department of Mental Health. For more information, visit

Disability Services

Growth Opportunities – Disability Services
Growth Opportunities is a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, with special services for seniors and those who are medically fragile. We provide leisure and recreational activities for our clients who need assistance with many of the activities of daily life and support in accessing their community. Our program provides community outings, games, arts and crafts, music appreciation, as well as communication and self-help skills training. An essential part of GO's mission is community integration through training and activities that occur IN the community and allows direct participation in society of which they are a part. Our clients experience social interaction and a comfortable caring environment, where they can choose to participate in various activities that match their interests.

Redwood Empire Industries – Disability Services
REI's primary aim is to help people with disabilities realize their full potential as adults and become productive, active members of their community. To this end, REI's staff works to develop the good basic work habits and social skills that would bring success in the work place and in the community to anyone. We do this by sub-contracting with local businesses so that our work training is conducted in as realistic a work environment as possible. Each trainee and family members play an active role in developing a personalized plan with REI staff and the referring counselor from the Department of Rehabilitation and/or North Bay Regional Center. This support team assists each trainee to identify and work toward specific goals with the aim of improving his or her employment options. We serve a range of persons with disabilities, mainly those who have developmental and mental health challenges. In the few past years we have also assisted persons with autism, cerebral palsy, and persons who are deaf, blind, with low vision, or have a physical disability or traumatic brain injury. On average we assist 100-120 people per year in services.

ICANAFFORDCOLLEGE.COM provides students and parents with information about financial aid programs and services to help pay for California community college.

Low Interest Student Loans for College
Here's a message from the U.S. Department of Education: You can afford college! Students and parents can explore this web site and find out about the Direct Loan Program. The site also offers publications and tools to help manage Direct Loans.

Tuition Assistance – California Department of Veterans Affairs
The dependent child, spouse, or unmarried surviving spouses of a service connected disabled or deceased veteran may be entitled to tuition and fee waiver benefits at any campus of the California State University system, University of California or a California Community College.

Emergency Services/Disaster Preparedness

The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides emergency food, clothing, shelter, and medical assistance to needy individuals and families. Call 1-866-GETINFO (438-4636).

Be Prepared California
Check out this web site from the California Department of Public Health. It has lots of free ideas to help you and your family prepare for emergencies. Be Prepared California

The California Volunteers
California is home to many kinds of disasters; you and your family need to be prepared. The California Volunteers has a free online web site to help you customize your family plan and create your own disaster preparedness plan.

Department of Community Services and Development
The Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) provides funding to more than 100 local community organizations that offer assistance with clothing, motel vouchers, blankets, shelters, energy assistance and emergency food. For more information, contact (916) 341-4200.

Impacted by the California Drought?
The California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) puts out an excellent resource guide that lists over a dozen organizations that provide free and low-cost services to consumers, farmers and business regarding a variety of services related to taxes, emergency, health and employment issues. Check it out at

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army provides a variety of services including help with food, household, clothing and personal needs. For more information call 1-800-SALARMY (725-2769) or visit them online at: The Salvation Army

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
The U.S. Department of Agricultures' (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides emergency loans in areas designated a disaster by the Secretary of Agriculture to help producers recover from production and physical losses. Contact the FSA office listed in your local telephone directory or visit FSA's web site at: Emergency Loan Program

U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are low-interest working capital loans to help small Businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and certain private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of a disaster, such as a drought. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) makes EIDLs available after a drought when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance; however, in drought disasters nurseries are eligible. Eligible businesses may qualify for working capital loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the adverse weather condition not occurred. For more information, call SBA toll-free at (800) 659-2955, or visit SBA's web site at: Disaster Loans. Hearing impaired individuals may call (800) 877-8339.


Unemployment Insurance
Workers who have lost their jobs may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI). The quickest and easiest way to apply is online. Visit the Employment Development Department's (EDD) web site at and click on the "Unemployment" link, then on "Apply Online" (eApply4UI) at the top right of the page. UI claims also can be filed by telephone at (800) 300-5616.
(For Spanish, call (800) 326-8937. For TTY, call (800) 815-9387.) UI benefits are provided to workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own, or working less than full-time, have a legal right to work in the U.S., and are ready, willing, and able to work.

Job Services
Job seekers and employers will find a wide variety of employment services offered by EDD and local partners at One-Stop Career Centers and EDD Workforce Services Offices throughout the State. Using these job search and training services, job seekers with a legal right to work in the U.S. can connect with thousands of available jobs through the CalJOBS automated system. For more information, visit EDD's web site at:

Energy/Green California

Balanced Payment Plan (BPP)
Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) Balanced Payment Plan Program (BPP) allows you to pay the same amount every month by averaging your household energy costs for the last 12 months.

E-Recycle Center
Visit the Telecommunications Industry Association's web site to find free E-recycling centers near you!

Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA)
Families whose household income slightly exceeds the low-income energy program allowances may qualify to receive FERA discounts, which bills some of their electricity usage at lower rates. To learn more visit your participating utility company below:

  1. PG&E
  2. Edison
  3. SDG&E
  4. SoCalGas
  5. Alpine Natural Gas
  6. Bear Valley Electric
  7. PacificCorp
  8. Sierra Pacific
  9. Southwest Gas
  10. West Coast Gas
  1. Energy Low Income Program (CARE)
  2. Edison CARE/FERA
  3. San Diego G&E CARE/FERA
  4. SoCal Gas
  5. (209) 772-3006
  6. (800) 999-4033
  7. (503) 813-5000
  8. (800) 782-2498
  9. (877) 860-6020
  10. (916) 364-4100

Free Energy Tips
The California Energy Commission offers lots energy tips to keep you cool this summer. Summer Time Energy-Saving Tips

Gas Assistance Fund (GAF)
The Southern California Gas Company's Gas Assistance Fund offers assistance to qualifying customers who are having difficulty paying their gas bills. This program, administrated by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, is funded by donations from customers, shareholders and employees.

Medical Baseline
All residential customers are billed a certain amount of their natural gas and electricity use at their utility company's lowest residential rate. Extra allowances of natural gas and electricity are billed at the lowest rate for customers who rely on life support equipment, or those who have life-threatening illnesses or compromised immune systems. The extra allowances are called Medical Baseline. Find out more about online it from the California Public Utilities Commission at

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
Marking Appliances for the Blind. If a relative or friend has limited vision, an SDG&E service technician can go to that person's home and mark range dials and thermostats to make them easier to use. To request this service for someone, call (800) 411-7343 to make an appointment. SDG&E's Temperature Sensitive Program offers advanced notice of power outages. If extreme heat poses a health risk for anyone in your home and your living space must be kept at a constant temperature, you may sign up for advance notification of rolling blackouts. SDG&E offers automated notification calls in case of state-directed power outages that could affect customers who are vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

Farm worker Assistance

Dislocated Agricultural Worker Program
California Human Development is subcontracted through La Cooperativa Campecina de California to operate the WIA Title I Dislocated Agricultural Worker Program to serve dislocated agricultural industry workers. This program offers dislocated agricultural workers help with job placement and training services. Services include job placement, ESL classes, basic education, vocational training, adult work experience, on-the-job training, emergency services, and basic readjustment services.

Farm Worker Housing
Aytch Plaza
Aytch Plaza is located in Kelseyville, California and is named after CHD's former Board Chair, Harvey Aytch. These two, three, and four-bedroom air conditioned houses are widely spaced on a fenced site of 2.2 acres. Built on a slightly rising slope, they offer beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. In addition to the wide lawns, there is a playground area for younger children. The houses each accommodate a washing machine and have outside clotheslines. Each yard has a small storage unit for garden tools and bicycles. There is assigned covered parking for residents, and off-street guest parking. Five of the houses are available to any low-income family, and six are reserved for low-income farm worker families. Aytch Plaza was built with a loan and a grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development. For information, please contact Santino Garcia at 916-371-8220 ext. 23.

Mahal Plaza
Our largest farm worker housing rental property is located in Yuba City, California. Mahal Plaza has 98 two, three, and four bedroom townhouse apartments. There are extensive lawns throughout the project, and each unit has a small private patio and lawn. Ten units are accessible to the physically disabled. Built in two phases, the first was completed in 1990, and the second, including a child care center, was completed in 1997. There is a large laundry facility in each phase. Off-street parking spaces are assigned to residents, and there is also off-street guest parking. Recreation facilities include a playground for younger children and a playing field large enough for soccer for pre-teens and older. For information, questions, or an application, please contact Jaswinder Sandhu at 530-671-6810.

Farm Worker Services – Anthony Soto Employment Training Centers (ASET)
Farm Worker Services' three ASET centers located in Santa Rosa, Stockton, and Marysville, offer vocational skills training such as truck driving, welding, fork lift, shipping and receiving, office occupation, and English literacy. The centers receive referrals from partnering agencies and insurance companies. These referrals bring revenue into CHD that allows the Corporation and Farm Worker Services to broaden the services that are available to its participants and all other students that come to the centers for training. Referrals come from EDD, the Department of Rehabilitation, Dislocated Worker, and the County WIA/WIB. There are also participants who do not qualify or receive a referral from any of these agencies, but wish to attend training at one of the CHD ASET Centers. These participants are enrolled as what is known as Self-Pay.

MiVIA™ – Free Health Records Management
MiVIA™ is a free service and was launched in 2003 as a personal health record for migrant and seasonal workers in Sonoma Valley, California. Today MiVIA™ provides an electronic record for several thousand people and their families across the country. The program has expanded opening the door for other populations with special or unique needs. It is especially useful for people who have no insurance, who have chronic medical conditions and/or who access care from many different providers or locations. MiVIA™ is increasingly being adopted by clinics, mobile medical units, rural hospitals and practices as a simple easy-to-use and cost effective electronic medical record (EMR) connecting providers serving MiVIAmembers and each other.

Napa Valley Farm Worker Housing Centers
Under contract with Napa County Housing Authority, California Human Development manages three Farm Worker Housing Centers in Napa County. These dormitory-style Centers provide housing for unaccompanied farm workers. Each center has 30 bedrooms, two residents per room, and has centrally grouped lavatories. Each Center has a large dining/activity room. Breakfast and lunch are served Monday through Saturday, as well as a bagged lunch-to-go. Continental breakfast (only) is served Sunday morning. All facilities have coin-operated Laundromats, recreational activities and pay telephones. Staff members live on site.

Each facility closes temporarily during the winter months, but the closings are staggered to ensure that at least one Center is open during these months. For scheduled open dates or space availability call the individual Centers or River Ranch. For information or questions about any of the Napa Valley Farm Worker Housing Centers please contact site manager/coordinator Angel Calderon at 707-963-7496 or 707-299-9064

  1. Calistoga Farm Worker Housing Center
    The Calistoga Center is generally open January through October. Newly renovated and expanded in 2006, this facility has a covered carport for minor car repairs. The repair area is exclusively available only to residents of the three Centers. There is a pool table and TV in the activity room, and two large barbeques on the rear deck. Onsite Manager: Gil Ortiz. Call 707-942-9279 or 707-696-1132 or go to the River Ranch Center for availability.
  2. Mondavi Farm Worker Housing Center
    The Mondavi Center is generally open February through October. It was also extensively renovated and expanded during 2006. Mondavi has a 5' diameter barbeque on the East patio and a pool table and TV in the dining room, as well as a separate TV lounge. Onsite Manager: Leo Guzman. Call 707-265-7629 or 707-363-2157 or go to the River Ranch Center for availability.
  3. River Ranch Farm Worker Housing Center
    The River Ranch Center, built in 2003, is generally open March through December. The administrative office is here and it is open year-round. Along side the Napa River, this cluster of building surrounds a small central plaza, and is often mistaken for a wine tasting room. The pool tables TV are in the activity room. The barbeque facilities are a back to back pair with a serving counter at one end of the plaza. Onsite Manager: Angel Calderon. Call 707-963-7496 or 707-299-9064 for availability.


WIA 167 National Farm Worker Jobs Program – California Human Development
The WIA 167 NFJP design emphasizes the commitment to improve the lives of farm workers and their families through education, vocational training, work experience, on-the-job training, English literacy training, basic skills, and life skills training. The completion of this training leads to job placement which in turn leads to greater self-sufficiency, positive self-esteem, and more productive and prosperous lives.

Food and Nutrition

Brown Bag Program
The Department of Aging's Brown Bag Program is a State-funded program that provides surplus and donated edible fruits, vegetables, and other food products to low-income individuals 60 years of age and older. The food is distributed to help supplement the nutritional needs of these older individuals. There is no fee charged to participants, although voluntary contributions can be made.

Food Assistance
The California Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) provides federal commodities to 50 food banks with over 2,300 distribution sites statewide. Food is then distributed to individuals who meet income eligibility requirements. To locate a distribution site serving your area, call 800) 283-9000, or visit the web site at:

Nutrition Assistance Programs
The United States Department of Food and Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) provides children and low-income persons access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education.  They offer several different programs; go online at to see if they have the right program for you.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
If you are in need of food assistance due to a loss of income, you can apply for benefits through the California Department of Social Services' Food Stamp Program via your local county welfare/social services office. For more information, visit the web site at:

Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program
The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program helps low- to moderate-income pregnant women, new mothers and their babies and young children to eat well and stay healthy. WIC provides special checks to buy healthy foods such as milk, juice, eggs, cheese, and, starting in October 2009, fruits, vegetables, baby foods and whole grains. WIC also offers information about nutrition and health, breastfeeding support and referrals to health care and community services. For more information, visit the web site at and click on "Find a Local WIC Agency" under Program Information.


Access for Infants and Mothers Program
The Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) program provides low-cost health insurance coverage to uninsured middle-income pregnant women. For a copy of the AIM Handbook and an application, please call (800) 433-2611, or visit the web site at:

Affordable Healthcare Benefits for Children
The CaliforniaKids Healthcare Foundation helps to keep our children healthy by providing affordable, preventive, and primary health care benefits to children of families who do not qualify for any State health care program.

California Children's Services – Department of Health Care Services
California Children's Services (CCS) is a State program for children with certain diseases or health problems. Children up to 21 years old can get the health care and services they need from this program. CCS will connect you with doctors and trained health care people who know how to care for your child with special health care needs.

California Office of the Patient Advocate
An online source for free information and services regarding consumer rights and health care services by county and throughout the State.

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
CDPH offers links to various ideas and activities to get kids and adults up and moving. See it online at

Department of Health Services
The California Department of Health Services offers an online list of related programs and services that can help you find assistance, health care services for low-income individuals and families, for the elderly, personal care, specific diseases and children with special medical needs at

Foundation for Health Coverage Education
Offering assistance in helping you find no-cost and low-cost health care for individuals, families and small businesses.

Healthcare Resources – California Office of the Patient Advocate
The California Office of the Patient Advocate has a list of useful web sites and phone numbers that can connect you with various low-cost and no-cost healthcare resources in California.

Health Screening, Testing & Treatment – Department of Public Health
The California Department of Public Health provides free breast cancer and cervical cancer screening and treatment to eligible women in California who qualify through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program. They also offer free prostate cancer treatment for up to 12 months to men who quality.

Healthy Families Program
The Healthy Families Program (HFP) provides low-cost comprehensive health, dental, and vision coverage to uninsured children and teens whose family income is too high to qualify for Medi-Cal. For a copy of the HFP Handbook and application, please call toll-free (800) 880-5305 or visit the web site at:

Hospital Fair Pricing Program
Find out how much hospitals are willing to discount care for uninsured patients. Search a hospital by name or location to find the hospital's discount pricing policy and download an application. Patients can find out if they qualify for low-prices or free care.

Local, Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Program
The California Department of Public Health's Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured families access health care services to address a broad range of public health problems. For more information on services offered, visit the web site at To access a list of local MCAH Departments call (866) 241-0395 or visit the web site at:

Los Angeles County Free and Low-Cost Health Care Services
Information about many free and low-cost health care services and programs for residents of Los Angeles County can be found on this web site. It offers links and information about health programs to cover the needs of everyone, regardless of age, race or immigration status. Programs offered include assistance for pregnant women, children, adults, families, and persons who are blind, disabled, or age 65 or older. Information about these services is available in English and eight other languages.

Home and Business Repair

Damage prevention Program – Dig Alert
Homeowners – Installing a new fence? Installing new sprinklers? Removing or planting a tree? Call before you dig! It is a free service to locate any underground pipes that might be under your property.

San Francisco Community Power – High Efficiency Toilet Program
Low-income families, small businesses, and nonprofits located in San Francisco may be eligible to receive a high efficiency toilet (HET), installed for free. To qualify, the resident or business must be replacing a 1992 or older toilet, and use 3.5 gallons per flush or more.


The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
(CAPI) provides monthly cash benefits to aged, blind, and disabled non-citizens (immigrants) who are not eligible for SSI/SSP solely due to their immigrant status.

California Human Development provides free citizenship services with funding from the State of California. People can receive free information, consultations and, if eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, we complete citizenship applications free of charge. California Human Development provides free materials for study to help clients pass their citizenship exam and referrals are made to local ESL providers as well so that applicants can improve their English in order to pass their citizenship interview. We also complete N600 applications for children with green cards who have at least one U.S. citizen parent. This form must be completed so that children can receive a certificate of U.S. citizenship which is very important when applying for scholarships or loans for higher education.

CHD has on staff a BIA accredited Representative who is recognized by the U.S. government to provide immigration services to the community. We assist people in obtaining legal status, work permits, renewing green cards, completing affidavits of support and help people immigrate family members to the U.S. Costs for services are low to help clients access quality immigration assistance. For more information contact Kathy Differding at 707-521-4721.

Migrant Education Program
The California Department of Education's Migrant Education Program (MEP) provides supplementary education and support services to identified migrant children and youth, ages 3-21, to help them meet the State's academic content standards and to help them graduate from high school. For regional contact information, call (916) 319-0851 or visit the web site at:


Bay Area Free Legal Assistance
Bay Area Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to low-income people. They can help with issues relating to housing, domestic violence, public benefits and health care access. Assistance is available to low-income people who live in the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara.

California Courts
The California Courts Self Help Center offers free and low cost legal assistance online at

Free/Low Cost Legal Assistance – Solano County Library
The Solano County Library offers legal assistance, free or low-cost services and an online tutoring chat line for K-12 students and college introduction, and adult learning.

Free or Low-Cost Court Transcripts
The Department of Consumer Affairs' Court Reporter's Board offer the Transcript Reimbursement Fund, which provides free or low-cost transcripts from court or deposition proceedings in civil cases. It is available to litigants who meet low-income thresholds and are represented by either a nonprofit legal services center or a pro bono attorney referred by such a center. Reimbursement can be directed to either the court reporter producing the transcript(s) or the legal entity representing the client.

Free/Reduced Cost Special Education Attorney Advocate List
The Office of Administrative Hearings offers free and reduced-cost special education attorney advocate list online at

Imperial and El Centro Free Legal Services
Free legal services and referrals for immigration matters.

Information for Renters
The Department of Consumer Affairs produces the book California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants' and Landlords'; Rights and Responsibilities.  This free publication has information about the rental process from application to moving out and lists an extensive list of legal aid organizations throughout California. Landlord/Tenant Book – California Department of Consumer Affairs

The Legal Aid Society of Orange County
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County's mission is to provide civil legal services to low-income individuals and seniors.

Low-Income Housing and Services

California LifeLine
The California LifeLine Telephone Program provides low-income families with a discounted home telephone service.

CalWORKs provides cash aid to eligible needy California families to help pay for housing, food, and other necessary expenses. For information contact your local county welfare/social services department. To find your local office visit the web site at: County Human Services Agencies or for more information on this program, visit the cash aid. web site at:

Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG) – Department of Community Services and Development
The Community Services Block Grant Program helps low-income people gain the skills, knowledge, and motivation necessary to achieve self-sufficiency. The program also provides low-income people with immediate life necessities such as food, shelter, and health care. To quality, you must first meet the CSBG Income Guidelines. Services are provided at the local level by a number of Community Action Agencies and Additional Community Partners, such as Limited Purpose Agencies, Migrant and Seasonal Farm Work Programs and Native American Indian Programs.

Low- and Very-Low Income Rental Housing
This web site provides a listing of apartments where low income housing might be available, dependent upon vacancies.

Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH)
This PG&E program is designed to provide assistance to low-income customers who experience severe, uncontrollable, or unplanned hardships and are unable to pay for their energy needs.

Rent Control
The cities of Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood are all rent controlled communities. For more information or to file a complaint, contact your local rent control agency.
Los Angeles Housing Department (includes San Fernando Valley):
Santa Monica Rent Control Board:
West Hollywood Rent Stabilization:

Southern California Edison's (SCE) Energy Assistance Fund
This fund helps low-income customers in financial hardship with electric bills. A maximum of $100 is available to qualified customers in a 12-month period. Energy Assistance Fund

Money and Finance

Attorney General's Office
You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from the Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the three nationwide companies that compile these financial profiles. These reports affect whether you can get a loan or credit card - and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. These reports also can affect your ability to get a job, rent a home or obtain insurance.

Bank on California
The Governor's Office has partnered with community organizations and banks to help the millions of Californians who don't have a bank account. Learn how to open a bank account today at Bank on California.

Free "My Money" Toolkit
The U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission provides financial education resources for all. You can obtain a free package of helpful publication on saving, investing, protecting and getting the most for your money by visiting their web site at:

Money Management Instructions
You can order a free CD and get money management instruction from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In English, choose self-paced, instructor, portable audio, or train-the-trainer version. In Spanish, choose self-paced, instructor, or train-the-trainer version. Instructor versions are also available in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and Hmong.


California Housing Finance Agency
The California Housing Finance Agency offers many programs to help first-time homebuyers.

California Public Employee and Teacher Resources (CalPETR)
CalPETR offers low down payment assistance on home loans for CalPers members via the Teacher Homebuyer Program (THP) and the CALHFA First Time Home Buyers Program.

First-Time Home Buyers/First-Time Renters
The Department of Real Estate has publications available for first time homebuyers as well as first-time renters. High school, adult school, and community college teachers and community organizations can also request a free copy of the Property Quest Educator's Set which includes the Property Quest: A Guide for First Time Home Buyers video, home buyer's workbook and trainer's manual and the Property Quest: A Guide for First Time Renters video, home buyer's workbook and trainer's manual with permission to reproduce the workbooks by contacting the Department of Real Estate.

Home Mortgage Resources
Whether you're buying a home, already own a home, or are having mortgage difficulties, you can find help here. Check out this web site for resources and information.


Animal Care Grant Program
This United Animal Nations site offers information about funding available to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers, non-profit organizations and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations.

Muttshack low income and free services for animals
Low cost spay and neutering for animals.

Prescription Drug Assistance

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage/Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare prescription drug coverage is insurance coverage for brand-name and generic prescription drugs at participating pharmacies. Everyone with Medicare is eligible for coverage regardless of income, resources, or health status. To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a Medicare prescription drug plan or join a Medicare Advantage Plan or other Medicare Health Plan offering drug coverage. Monthly premiums and co-payments vary by plan. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (800) 633-4227

Prescription Drug Discount Program for California Medicare Recipients
California Medicare recipients can pay Medi-Cal prices (plus 15 cents per prescription) for their prescription drugs. There are no forms to fill out, and you do not need to be a Medi-Cal recipient. Display your Medicare card at the pharmacy counter and ask for the Medi-Cal discount. The discount ranges from 10%-40%. You must pay out-of-pocket when filling the prescription and the discount cannot be applied to other discounts or combined with any insurance coverage. California Department of Health Care Services (916) 552-9714

Social Security Prescription Drug Assistance
If you have limited resources and income, you may qualify for extra help to pay for prescription drug coverage. The extra help could be worth up to $3,600 per year by paying for all or most prescription drug co-payments, monthly premiums, and annual deductibles. Eligibility depends on your income and the value of your savings, investments, and real estate (other than your home). U.S. Social Security Administration (800) 772-1213 Social Security Prescription Drug Assistance


PG&E Rebates and Energy Efficiency for Your Home
PG&E offers a wide range of rebates from instant savings on lighting products to our appliance recycle program – to help you save energy, money and our environment's natural resources. Check out the PG&E web site for more information.

SDG&E Residential Rebates and Services
Improving your home's energy efficiency can reduce your energy use and save natural resources. To help, SDG&E offers rebates for the purchase and installation of qualifying energy-efficient measures. Rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are spent. Check out all of the rebates and services that you may qualify for.

SMUD Promotions, Rebates and Financing
SMUD has promotions and rebates to help our customers save energy and money. SMUD buys down the cost of electric appliances and products to encourage energy efficiency. That in turn saves our natural resources. In addition, we have financing available at affordable rates.


Fishing Days for Free
Have you ever felt the excitement of watching your bobber suddenly jiggle, then dive out of sight? Or feeling the tap-tap-tap of a bass as it tastes the worm on the end of your line? Or having a salmon practically tear the rod out of your hands as it smashes your lure? What's that? You say you never learned to fish? Well, if you're new to the sport of fishing, and not sure if you will enjoy it, we have a great opportunity for you. The Department of Fish and Game offers two Free Fishing Days each year. On these days, you can fish without having to buy a sport fishing license.


Free Senior Scam Stopper Seminars will teach you how to avoid scams
The Department of Consumer Affairs' Contractors State Licensing Board and many State Legislators have teamed up with various State and federal agencies to bring a panel of experts to your community. You can talk directly with the experts, file a consumer complaint, verify a license, and learn about the latest senior scams and how to avoid being ripped off.  To learn more about these free seminars go online to:

Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
In California, the SFMNP begins in May and runs through November and is a 100 percent federally-funded program which provides low-income seniors with check booklets that can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) partners with California's 22 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to distribute the SFMNP check booklets.

Senior Housing – Parkway Plaza
Located in Fairfield, California, Parkway Plaza is designed for low income seniors and adults with disabilities. There are 99 self-contained, one-bedroom apartments designed for independent living. Four of the units are accessible to the physically disabled, and six are semi-accessible to the physically disabled. This gated community features beautiful lawns and gardens, individual gardening plots for residents, a community room with billiards, and barbecue facilities, and fenced parking. Parkway Plaza is a very active community. CHDC was Project Sponsor for development of the facility, and currently manages the property for the owner, Northbay Human Development Corporation, with a loan from HUD under the 202, Section 8 program.  For information, please contact Darleen Martinez at 707-429-3511.

Services for Seniors
The California Department of Aging contracts with and provides leadership and direction to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). The AAA coordinates a wide array of services to seniors and adults with disabilities. You can locate the AAA in your area by calling (800) 510-2020 or visit the web site at

Small Business Assistance

Board of Equalization (BOE)
BOE offers free business seminars in a number of industries including nonprofits, restaurants, practitioners, and much more.

Offers free counseling, free business advice, and low cost educational programs to new and existing small business owners in the Sacramento and Stockton areas.


Do-It-Yourself e-file from FTB and Software Companies
Visit the State of California Franchise Tax Board to figure out how to e-file your California and Federal taxes for free!  Why e-file?  When you e-file your transaction is secure, the software used is current with the latest tax law changes, confirmation when your return is received, print a paper copy of your return for your filed, get a faster refund when you select direct deposit.

Employment Tax Requests for Extension to Report and Pay
Employers in California who are directly impacted by the recent drought disaster may request an extension of up to 60 days to file their state payroll reports and to deposit state payroll taxes with EDD without penalty or interest. For further information, call EDD's Taxpayer Assistance Center at (888) 745-3886 or visit EDD's web site at:

IRS Withholding Calculator
The purpose of this application is to help employees to ensure that they do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay. It is not a replacement for Form W-4, but most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany Form W-4. You may use the results of this program to help you complete a new Form W-4, which you will submit to your employer.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counseling for the Elderly – California Franchise Tax Board
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) – The VITA and TCE volunteer programs provide free assistance to individuals who have limited incomes and/or are over the age of 60 who need help in completing simple federal and state income tax returns. Assistance is limited to full-year residents and is generally available from February 1 through April 15. The VITA program specializes in assisting disabled taxpayers, those with low- to limited -incomes, and non-English speaking taxpayers. The TCE program provides free income tax assistance for middle- or low-income taxpayers, and gives special attention to those aged 60 and older.


The California LifeLine
The California LifeLine Telephone Program provides low-income families with a discounted home telephone service.


Benefits for Veterans – Board of Geologists and Geophysicists
Recent legislation allows eligible veterans who have taken approved licensing or certification tests on or after March 1, 2001 to have their fees reimbursed. The Board's licensing examinations have been approved for the new G.I. Bill program. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will only pay for the cost of the test and not others associated with obtaining a license or certification, such as application fees. For more information, go to the GI Bill web site at and click on the link entitled Licensing and Certification Tests. Or you may click on the link entitled Ask a Question and send an e-mail inquiry. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may contact the VA at 1-888-442-4551, or 1-800-829-4833 for the hearing impaired.

Veterans Benefits Overview
California Veterans please take advantage of the numerous benefits available to you that are administered by the California Department of Veterans Affairs. College tuition fee waivers for veteran's dependents, free license plates, motor vehicle registration fees waived and many, many more benefits.

Veterans Resource Book
The California Department of Veterans Affairs contains a listing of the compensation, pension, educational, employment, housing and burial benefits that are available to you from federal, state and county agencies, along with appropriate contact information. Resource Book 2014.pdf

This information was accurate at the time of posting on this web site. Programs may have limited funds or only offered for a specified period and to eligible consumers. Readers are encouraged to verify the information with the organization listed in the description. The listing of services does not necessarily represent endorsement by the California Department of Consumer Affairs.