The state of Oregon has a population of 4 million and a poverty rate of 16.2%. In fact, 1 out of every 4 children in the state of Oregon live in poverty at some point. Fortunately, there are many assistance programs available for the residents of Oregon that can provide assistance to lessen the burden of poverty. This guide will list and explain all of these assistance programs that are available in the state of Oregon.

Financial Assistance in Oregon

Oregon Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)

This helpful program provides cash assistance to low income families with children to help them get through tough times. This program aims to reduce the amount of people in Oregon that are living in poverty. The maximum monthly benefits that a family of 3 can receive is $503. The benefits are administered through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card called the Oregon Trail card when scanning out groceries and by using ATMs.

In order to be eligible for this program you must be a legal resident of Oregon, be pregnant or have a child under the age of 19 living in your household, and your household must have little to no assets, and be of very low income. To apply you must fill out an application with the Oregon Department of Human Services in your area of the state. To learn more, and to begin the application process, please click this link.

Oregon Unemployment Insurance

Oregon Unemployment Insurance provides financial assistance to those who have lost their job though no fault of their own. The amount of the payment you will receive our determined by the wages you made with your previous job. Also, you must be actively looking for adequate work while you receiving the benefits.

In order to qualify for this program you must have worked in Oregon within the past 12 to 18 months, and earned a minimum amount of wages as determined by Oregon’s guidelines. To file your initial claim you must call an Unemployment Insurance center in your area. This UI locator will allow you to type in your zip code to find the nearest centre for you to apply to .

Food Assistance In Oregon

Buying groceries every week can be expensive making it hard for single parents, or low income families to provide all the healthy food their children need. Fortunately, there some really helpful programs available to those who need it in Oregon.

Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This program provides low income single parents, families, and individuals with free nutritious foods needed to stay healthy. The average amount of benefits a family received was $140 a month for food. The benefits are administered through Electronic Benefits Cards which is called the Oregon Trail Card. This is the card you use when you are purchasing the groceries.

Eligibility is determined on your household income in relation to the number of people living in your household.  For example, a family of 3 could make $26,117 per year or lower to qualify for the benefits. Also some states, with Oregon being one of them, require you to have a combined checking and savings account balance of under $2000, or a balance of $3000 or lower if you have a senior or person with a disability living in your household. For the full list of the income guidelines and to start the application process please click here.

Oregon Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

This public health program provides free nutritious food, nutrition education and even health care referrals to pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. In Oregon there are about 100 000 women, infants, and children that benefit from this program.

In order to be eligible for this program you must meet the income guidelines set by the state of Oregon. The income guidelines are based on how many people live in your household. Click here for a look at the complete income guidelines list. To apply for this program you must apply and set up and appointment at your nearest WIC office

Check out the Oregon Health Authority webpage that gives you all the info you will need along with a WIC locator to find a WIC center near you.

Oregon School, Breakfast and Lunch Program

This program provides either low cost, or free breakfasts’ and lunches to school children every school day. Some school might also offer after school snacks as well.  To qualify for this program you must be considered low income and have a child in school. The income guidelines can be found by clicking here.

To apply for the free or reduced priced meals you must contact the school that your child attends. Use this Oregon school directory to find your child’s school.

Medical Assistance in Oregon

Medical costs are simply to expensive for anyone without health insurance, fortunately Oregon has a very good Medicaid assistance program.

Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid/SCHIP)

Medicaid provides free health care services to low income families across the state of Oregon. It covers the cost of a variety of health related expenses such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • dental care

Eligibility for Medicaid is strongly based on specific income guidelines based on family size in relation to annual income. The income levels are lower for children, making it easier for children to qualify. Depending on your income you might have to pay for some of the services with co-pay. Click here for a income guide listing as well as some useful information on Medicaid. Remember in Oregon, Medicaid is also referred to as ‘Oregon Health Plan’. Enter your zip code here to get started with the application process. If you are totally unsure on what you can qualify for the Oregon Health Care site will walk you through the process.

Oregon State Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Oregon State Child Health Plus program is basically the Medicaid program for children. This program offers all the same free health care services listed above. In order to be eligible for this program you must have a child under the age of 19 living in your household, or be the primary caregiver of a child, and be considered low income. The income levels required for you child to receive CHIP are lower making it easier to qualify. To view the income guidelines please click here. You can actually apply for SCHIP online on the website. This link will take you directly to the application section.

Oregon And The Affordable Care Act

Oregon is one of many states that have adopted the affordable care act also known as ‘Obama Care’.  In Oregon they also call it ‘Cover Oregon”. The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for residents of Oregon to qualify for Medicaid, as the income levels required to qualify are lower. Check out this Obama Care Facts website to see how the Affordable Health Care Act works in Oregon.

Addictions and Mental Health

If you are anyone you know are struggling with an addition, or any sort of mental health issue there can be free help available. This link has a list of crisis lines you can call for free advice and guidance.

Child Care Assistance in Oregon

Child care can place a burden on parents as it is very expensive, making it difficult for parents to attend full time work. Fortunately there are some child care assistance programs available.

Employment Related Child Care Program (ERDC)

This program provides child care subsidies to help cover the costs of expensive child care for working single parents or families. The Oregon Department of Human Services pays a portion of the child care with the parents paying the other portion. To be legible for this program you must be of low income. The amount paid toward child care depends on your income levels. To learn more check out the ERDC webpage.

Oregon Head Start Program

This program will provide a learning environment and supervision for children ages 0-5 to help enhance their emotional, cognitive, and social development. This program is only available to low income families. You are eligible based on your household income compared to how many people live in your household. To look at the income limits and to learn more you can browse the Oregon Head Start Association webpage.

Housing Assistance In Oregon

When you face financial difficulties, making your rent payments can be the biggest expense that you have to deal with. Fortunately there are some rental assistance programs available in Oregon.

Oregon Low Income Public Housing Program

This program will allow low income single parents and families across Oregon to receive reduced rent payments in dwellings owned by the local Public Housing Agencies in your area of the state, whether it be an apartment, single houses or condos. The state of Oregon provides funding to local Public Housing Agencies (PHAs).These agencies will then use these funds to provide the low income families or single parents safe and sanitary housing with rent payments that they can afford to pay. The eligibility for these programs is based on income limits set by the State of Oregon. Basically this program allows you to live in housing with very affordable rent payments.

To get started you need to contact the nearest Public Housing Agency that is in your area. You will usually have an appointment to go over your financial situation. This Oregon Public Housing Directory will allow you to find the housing direct nearest you to get started.

Oregon Housing Choice Vouchers ( Section 8)

This program runs very similar to the Low Income Housing Program as the Housing Agencies manage this program as well. Basically how it works is instead of you staying in pre determined housing like the other program, this program allows you to search for your own apartments or condos. The Housing Agencies provide voucher to your landlord which covers a good portion of your rent payments. You will only pay a portion of your total rent payment, usually 30-40% of the total rent. Of course you have to be considered low income to qualify for this program which is done through the Public Housing agency. Use this Oregon Public Housing Directory to find the agency nearest you to get started and for more information.

Oregon Low Income Energy Assistance Program

This program is designed to assist low income residents of Oregon with their energy bills, primary with heating costs. If you are of low income you could qualify you could have a good portion of your energy bills paid for you. In order to be eligible you must be a legal resident of Oregon and have a household income that is below 60% of Oregon’s median income. For example, a household size of 3 would have to have an annual household income of $34,740 or lower to qualify. For the full income guidelines, please click here. To apply for the program you must contact your nearest agency weatherization service area.

Oregon Weatherization Assistance Program

This program works hand in hand with the Low Income Energy Assistance Program as this program also helps low income Oregon residents with their homes. The main difference is this program better prepares the house to be more energy efficient, which will reduce the costs of the energy bills. This program focuses on installation proper insulation, fix or replace furnaces or air conditioning units and more.

To be eligible you must meet the income guidelines which are the same exact income guidelines used for the Low Income Energy Program. To view the income list please click here. To apply you must also contact your nearest agency weatherization area.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

There are a variety of down payment assistance programs available for first time home buyers in Oregon. A portion of your down payment will be paid for you so you are able to get a mortgage and own your first home. To search for a program in your area of the state please click here.

Transportation Assistance In Oregon

There are a few things that can be done in Oregon to lower your transportation costs as shown below.

Medical Transportation Programs

The state of Oregon has a variety of free medical transportation programs available. The transportation will drive you to your doctors appointments, tests and treatments you might have. These programs are available to those currently under any health care plan in Oregon. One of the better programs is called Ride to Care. Also, this link will show you more of these transportation programs available in locations all around Oregon.


Keep in mind there are a few very popular driving services called Uber, and Lyft. These services have normal people pick you in in their own personal vehicle and take you where you want to go. It is a lot cheaper then taking a cab.

Legal Assistance In Oregon

We all know how expensive it can be to receive any sort of legal advice or guidance. Many people simply cannot afford these services, fortunately there are some great services that will give out a lot of free legal advice.

Oregon Law Help Organization

This organization features several different areas of legal advice someone might need. It has a large database of where to find legal advice based on what your situation is. Many of the legal services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and more. Check out for a great database of information and resources for free legal services available at locations near you.

The State of Oregon does a good job protecting its residents with a variety of assistance programs which you saw in this article. If you are not sure if you are eligible for any program there are all sorts of link and resources in this guide which can allow you to get in contact with the person that can guide you in the right direction.

Extra Links and Resources

Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state