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Cowlitz County assistance programs.

Find help with utility bills or rent, free food programs, and financial help in Cowlitz County. Below are non-profits, charities, and churches that help the less fortunate. The emergency financial aid is available along with mortgage assistance, free health or dental care, job placement, and even low interest loans or grants for paying bills.

Find how to get help from your local community action agency, the Lower Columbia Community Action Council. This non-profit organization helps people with short term financial hardships, and provides grants and funds to help pay bills. At the same time, they have as one of their primary goals the determination to help people increase their income, and become self-sufficient over the long term. This includes employment and job training among other resources.

You will find more information on the services and programs that the Lower Columbia Community Action Council offers, as well as who to contact for assistance.

Employment resources

The WorkSource Career Development Center was established with the goal of helping people find a job, increase their skills and income. The programs offered focus on helping people create a resume, provide networking skills, practice interviews, and help people develop an overall plan of attack to help them find a job. They also run on the job training programs.

Help for energy and heating bills

The agency works closely with the federal government, state of Washington, and local utility companies to offer a multitude of energy assistance programs. Find information on government and local utility programs.

  • Cowlitz County Warm Neighbor Program - This is a Cowlitz PUD Program that is being managed by the local community action agency. The funding for this program comes from a variety of sources, including private and community donations. The applicants to this program need to have electric as their primary heating source, meet total household income eligibility guidelines, and they also must be in an emergency situation or crisis.




  • Weatherization - Homeowners can both save money and stay warm with the weatherization program. The program works as follows: A home energy audit will be conducted by a professional CAP Weatherization Field Technician to determine how to help the homeowner conserve energy. Some possible energy conserving measures may include additional insulation being installed in the floors, attic, and/or walls, adding additional caulking, weather-stripping, and window treatments. The homeowner does not need to pay for these improvements.
  • The Senior and Disabled Discount Rate Program - These are County of Cowlitz PUD assistance programs that are administered by Lower Columbia Community Action Council. This program provides anywhere from a 5 to 25% discount to qualified low income seniors or disabled on their  monthly utility bills. There are some conditions to be eligible. Contact the agency to learn more.
  • Washington LIHEAP (Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program) - The federal government funds this program. It will assist low to moderate income households in making home heating more affordable and providing grants to help them with bills, help people avoid shutoff of utility services during the winter months, and it will allow them to maintain a warm, safe, and healthy environment for their families and other loved ones.
  • Job and employment programs - As noted above, Lower Columbia Community Action Council works to help people overcome employment challenges. One part of this is providing details on all sorts of employment, including working from home. This will help families increase their income for paying the bills.

Debt assistance

This is another service that is offered. Debt and credit counselors from the agency can help people improve their credit and get out of debt, including providing credit card help. Counselors will work one on one with the applicant to help them increase assets, improving saving habits, and manage their debt.

Counselors work directly with lenders and card issuers. They can even deal with medical bills and debts, and refer people to debt management plans. Click here to find other ways to address credit and debt issues, or call the agency for more information.





The Lower Columbia Community Action Council can be reached at (360) 425-3430.

Food, emergency financial aid and other resources

Catholic Charities also supports western Washington state and Cowlitz County. The assistance programs and social services administered are wide ranging. They include basic needs such as shelter, free food, meals, and clothing. As funding allows, Catholic Charities may provide financial assistance in an emergency for expenses such as rent, medications, and utility bills.

Most of this is provided by the Family Centers in Kelso and nearby areas. Case managers will also work with families on self-sufficiency, including job training and applications for government/public aid. Read more.

Longview based Salvation Army center offers social services and emergency support, though it is limited. Families living in poverty, but there are working towards stability, are often clients. The programs range from a free food pantry to grants for bills or paying rent as well as holiday help. Other support may also be provided, and continue Cowlitz County Salvation Army.


By Jon McNamara

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