Sometimes individuals find themselves having trouble meeting their basic needs. These items can include shelter, food, clothing, medications, medical supplies, utilities, and child care. The federal government, foundations, and organizations provide grants for personal assistance to meet these basic needs. Most often these entities do not provide these grants for personal assistance directly to individuals; instead they provide these grants for personal assistance to social service organizations to allocate to individuals that have been determined to meet the eligibility requirements to obtain these funds.

Federal Grants for Personal Assistance

The federal government allocates funds to state departments, such as state Department of Social Services or state Department of Family and Children Services, in the form of block grants to assist individuals in meeting their basic needs. As an example of these grants for personal assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds are awarded to states to administer in an effort to provide assistance to needy families and to promote job preparation. The TANF funds assist individuals in paying for child care while they work to obtain employment or for care of their children while they work. TANF funds can also come in the form of cash disbursements to the individual to assist in covering daily living expenses, such as rent and utilities. For more information on the TANF program visit your local state run social services office or visit: Administration for children and families.

Foundation Grants for Personal Assistance

Many private foundations provide grants for personal assistance to nonprofit organizations to assist individuals in meeting their basic needs. For example, the Seattle Foundation seeks to support nonprofit organizations serving the residents of King County by providing grants for personal assistance in the areas of providing services to the homeless, programs to prevent homelessness, the availability of affordable housing for very low-income or special needs individuals, and providing access to nutritious food. For more information visit: Seattle Foundation. To locate other private foundations that provide grants for personal assistance, utilize a database of foundations such as the database located at Foundation Center.

Organizational Grants for Personal Assistance

A number of nonprofit organizations, commonly called “funds”, that receive funds from corporate and individual donors make grants for personal assistance to individuals in need. For example, Amy’s Courage Fund opens annually to provide grants to victims of domestic violence who are working with a recognized domestic violence program holding a 501 (c) 3 status that need assistance with rent, utilities, moving expenses, medical expenses, legal expenses, or transportation costs. For more information visit: National Network to End Domestic Violence. A good place to start to locate organizations that provide grants for personal assistance is to contact a local social service agency or a local United Way office and request a list of “helping” organizations that serve a specific geographic region.

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