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California Resources for People With Disabilities

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
November 7, 2023  ·  11 min read
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If you apply for disability and need support while you wait for benefits, several nonprofits and community organizations can offer information and services to boost your financial and social safety net. 

California is home to a wide range of resources — from community soup kitchens to free healthcare clinics — that promote the safety, security, and well-being of people with disabilities. Check out this list of some of the top-rated resources for food security, housing and shelter assistance, legal services, and medical care throughout the Golden State, from Siskiyou County to Ventura County.

Food resources

California Association of Food Banks

624 Franklin St Ste 722, Oakland, CA 94612

The California Association of Food Banks represents 41 food banks throughout the state, from Alameda to Yuba. This organization, founded in 1955, works to end hunger in California by partnering with agricultural farmers, enacting policies, and educating the community. In 2019, The California Association of Food Banks spearheaded legislation to make CalFresh, formerly known as SNAP benefits, available to SSI recipients. Find the closest CAFB near you

Central California Food Bank

4010 E Amendola Dr., Fresno, CA 93725

The Central California Food Bank provides 46 million pounds of food annually to its 300 partner feeding sites across the Golden State. This organization is a partner of Feeding America, the largest hunger relief non-profit in the country. In addition to grocery pick-ups and food distributions, the Central California Food Bank offers medically tailored meals to senior-serving partners. 

Feeding San Diego

9477 Waples St., Ste. 100, San Diego, CA 92121

Unlike traditional food banks, Feeding San Diego uses data to determine the community’s needs, keeping food local and delivering to distribution centers as needed. Founded in 2007, this Feeding America partner distributes more than 35.4 million meals annually through partnerships with 350 local charities, schools, faith communities, meal sites, and food pantries. Find the closest distribution center near you.

Food Bank of El Dorado County

4550 Business Drive, Cameron Park, CA 95682

Food Bank of El Dorado County, the first food bank in its namesake county, was established in 2000. The collaborative charity, named a 2023 California Nonprofit of the Year, works with several local organizations to deliver more than $3 million of food to residents in need. One of the hallmarks of the food bank is its mobile food truck pantry, which delivers meals to rural communities. 

Food for Thought

6550 Railroad Avenue, Forestville, CA 95436

In addition to offering weekly groceries, Food for Thought provides vitamins and supplements and nutrition counseling for thousands of Sonoma County residents. FFT is also a member of the California Food Is Medicine Coalition (CalFIMC), a group of community-based nonprofit organizations across the state that address the nutritional requirements of California's most vulnerable individuals.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank

1734 East 41st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes meals to low-income seniors and families across L.A. County with its mobile food pantry. Among its programs is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), the largest in the country, providing food kits to 28,000 seniors monthly at 110 sites.

Mama’s Kitchen

3960 Home Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105

A San Diego caregiver established Mama’s Kitchen in 1990 to provide meals to those affected by the AIDS epidemic. The organization, which has delivered more than 11 million meals since its founding, partners with healthcare providers and social workers to deliver medically tailored meals to people with critical illnesses.

Organic Soup Kitchen

126 E Haley St. A4, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

The Organic Soup Kitchen serves nutritious meals to low-income seniors and other food-insecure individuals in Santa Barbara County who have cancer, chronic illnesses, and disabilities. Organic Soup Kitchen began in 2008 as a way to help neighbors hit by the economic recession. Now, the Organic Soup Kitchen delivers thousands of nutrient-rich soup meals per week and recently opened a distribution and education center to expand its community engagement.

Redwood Empire Food Bank

3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA 95403

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization serving Northern California. Since 1987, the Redwood Empire Food Bank has provided food and nourishment to those facing hunger—serving more than 100,000 children, families, and seniors in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties. With over 300 direct service distributions and 150 partnerships with local human service organizations, all residents facing food insecurity have regular access to weekly and monthly food distribution sites across the five counties.

River City Food Bank

1800 28th Street, Sacramento, CA 95816

One in four children in Sacramento lives in poverty. In addition to offering emergency food, River City Food Bank, the city's oldest food bank, has a CalFresh outreach program, offers breakfast to low-income seniors, and partners with local schools to supply student lunches.

Housing and shelter resources

Bridge Housing

600 California St Floor 900, San Francisco, CA 94108

Bridge Housing, established in 1983, develops properties for low-income families in California. Currently, the organization has 126 properties providing homes for 30,000 people across California, Oregon, and Washington. Browse Bridge Housing’s listings of units and find affordable housing near you.

Community Resource Center

650 2nd St., Encinitas, CA 92024

In 1979, a group of business and community leaders founded the Community Resource Center to address homelessness and hunger in Encinitas. Community Resource Center offers rental and housing assistance, and provides community education workshops about housing and finances. CRC aims to promote the stability and self-sufficiency of low-income families in San Diego County.

Disability Action Center

2453 Athens Ave., Redding, CA 96001

Disability Action Center's Independent Living Program provides support to help individuals with disabilities live on their own. The program offers classes, training sessions, support groups, and one-on-one help with Disability Action Center advocates.

Hope Through Housing

9421 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

Hope Through Housing provides permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness, with a special focus on veterans and developmentally disabled adults. Since 1998, Hope Through Housing’s programming has expanded to support children socially, educate adults on financial capability, and provide seniors with resources to live independently.

Housing Matters

115 Coral Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Over the past three decades, Housing Matters has become the largest organization in Santa Cruz County addressing homelessness. In addition to its three housing shelters, Housing Matters offers services and programs to help individuals and families secure permanent housing. Housing Matters was recognized as a 2023 California Nonprofit of the Year. 

Operation HOPE-North County 

859 E Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084

Operation HOPE–North County, a previous winner of the California Nonprofit of the Year award, provides temporary shelter to homeless families with children and single women. In addition, Operation HOPE-North County offers education programs to children and adults to promote job readiness, financial literacy, and self-care. 

Samaritan House

4031 Pacific Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94403

Samaritan House offers emergency and short-term housing, rental assistance, and support for applying to housing programs. Throughout its history, Samaritan House has given safe harbor residents in need a safe place to sleep for 55,000 nights. The organization was recognized as a 2023 California Nonprofit of the Year.

SHARE! Collaborative Housing

6666 Green Valley Circle, Culver City, CA 90230

SHARE! Collaborative Housing provides affordable, permanent housing to people with disabilities in Los Angeles County. The collaborative housing model gives residents social relationships and SHARE! Collaborative Housing groups SSI recipients and individuals with similar conditions together for support.

Sierra HOPE

P.O. Box 159, Angels Camp, CA 95222

Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sierra HOPE ​provides permanent supportive housing and case management services to individuals or families who have become homeless due to a physical or mental disability.

SPIN Serving People in Need

151 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

SPIN's housing program offers housing assistance, rapid re-housing, transitional housing, and rental assistance for families with children. In 2022, SPIN Serving People in Need's housing program served 918 households in Orange County, totaling 3,307 individuals.

Legal aid services

Bay Area Legal Aid

1735 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

Bay Area Legal Aid is the largest provider of free civil legal services in the San Francisco Bay Area. Among its offerings, Bay Area Legal Aid helps tenants with disabilities defend their rights to accessible housing.

Community Legal Aid SoCal

2101 N Tustin Ave., Santa Ana CA 92705-7819

Community Legal Aid SoCal offers pro bono legal services to low-income residents throughout Orange and Southeast Los Angeles Counties. Community Legal Aid SoCal’s services for seniors include legal aid for public benefits, estate planning, health coverage, financial scams, and more.

Disability Services & Legal Center

521 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Disability Services & Legal Center serves people in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino counties and offers legal support with disability lawyers. Among its offerings, Disability Services & Legal Center provides benefits counseling and organizes peer support groups for more than 2,000 people with disabilities each year. 

Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance

615 California Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93304

Since 1968, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance has provided free legal services to thousands of low-income and elderly individuals in Kern County. GBLA provides legal assistance for issues including children and family services, housing and homelessness, health law, and more.

Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County

301 E Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County is a non-profit civil legal service providing legal aid to low-income residents. The organization works in various legal sectors, including elder abuse, exploitation of seniors, and housing discrimination, among others. The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County also offers community education, support with legal documents, and court representation.

Legal Aid of Marin

1401 Los Gamos Drive Suite 101, San Rafael, CA 94903

Legal Aid of Marin is funded in part by the Older Americans Act, administered locally by the Marin Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Adult Services. Legal Aid of Marin provides legal support for employment law, elder law, housing law, consumer protection law, and community court.

Legal Aid Society of San Diego

110 S Euclid Ave., San Diego, CA 92114

Legal Aid of San Diego, founded in 1953, provides free legal services to lower-income San Diego residents. The areas of law at Legal Aid Society of San Diego include SSI for children, public benefits, immigration, housing, unemployment, and healthcare.

Legal Services of Northern California

517 12th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 Legal Services of Northern California provides free legal aid to 23 low-income counties throughout the region. Legal Services of Northern California’s eight offices offer legal support for housing, food benefits, unemployment services, and more.

Sierra Community House

265 Bear St., Kings Beach, CA 96143

In addition to providing housing resources, Sierra Community House offers free legal aid and support for residents regarding employment law, tenant law, workers' compensation, and more. Since 2020, the organization has assisted more than 2,000 people in Placer County.

The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo

30 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 123, Redwood City, CA 94065

Founded in 1959, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo is an award-winning public interest law firm. The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County offers legal services to low-income residents to ensure access to secure and affordable housing, healthcare, economic stability, legal immigration status, and more.  

Healthcare services

Berkeley Free Clinic

2339 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704

Founded in 1969, the Berkeley Free Clinic began as a street medic collective to offer care to protestors of the People’s Park Riots. Today, the volunteer-run collective provides drop-in services like vision screenings, STI testing, dental services, and more. In addition, BFC supports residents with assistance enrolling in benefits programs and health insurance.

Brandman Centers for Senior Care

7150 Tampa Ave., Reseda, CA 91335

Brandman Centers for Senior Care, part of Los Angeles Jewish Health, offers medical care, social opportunities, and transportation for residents 55+ in Los Angeles County. Brandman Centers for Senior Care’s PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) offers services in 15 languages.

Barton Health

P.O. BOX 9578, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158

Based in South Lake Tahoe, the non-profit organization Barton Health provides high-quality care and community wellness programs to benefit residents of El Dorado County. Barton Health offers free wellness webinars and community health fairs with vaccines and other health care services.

Center for Elders’ Independence

510 17th Street, Oakland, CA 94612

The Center for Elders' Independence boasts a healthcare team to support seniors in Alameda and Contra Costa counties living safely and independently at home. For its home health services, Medicare and Medi-Cal reimburse the Center for Elders’ Independence directly for care.

Central City Community Health Center

19 Saturn Street, Monterey Park, CA91755

This federally qualified health center has 15 clinics throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County, in addition to five mobile clinics. Central City Community Health Center provides primary care, family planning, mental health services, obstetrics/gynecology, and more.

Neighborhood Healthcare

425 N Date St., Escondido, CA 92025

Neighborhood Healthcare has more than 20 locations, offering healthcare services to low-income residents throughout Escondido in San Diego County. In addition to its many healthcare services, Neighborhood Healthcare has resource specialists to help educate patients about Cal-Fresh and other benefits programs. Its Senior Peer Program aims to reduce isolation by bringing Spanish-speaking seniors together socially.

NorthBay Healthcare Group

1200 B Gale Wilson Blvd. , Fairfield, CA 94533

Founded in 1959, NorthBay Health serves Solano County with two hospitals, plus clinics throughout the Bay Area. NorthBay Health comprises more than 150 healthcare providers, and the organization’s services include primary health, cancer care, women's services, and more.

Satellite Healthcare Inc.

300 Santana Row , San Jose, CA 95128

This non-profit, physician-led clinic serves patients in San Jose with chronic kidney disease. In addition to treatment services, Satellite Healthcare Inc. offers education resources to empower patients on their healthcare journey. 

Shasta Community Health Center

1035 Placer Street, Redding, CA 96001

Shasta Community Health Center is a nonprofit primary health care system in Northern California. Shasta Community Health Center features a dental clinic, primary healthcare, a substance abuse program, health education workshops, and more. Its Project HOPE HAS a van with two exam rooms to serve the most vulnerable communities in Northern California.

Senior Alliance For Empowerment (SAFE)

Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

The Senior Alliance For Empowerment (SAFE) is committed to educating and supporting low-income senior citizens and veterans, particularly those with disabilities, to foster greater independence. SAFE’s programming aims to enhance the overall quality of life.

Get help applying for disability benefits

The process of applying for disability benefits can be rigorous and time-consuming. Take our 2-minute quiz to see if you might qualify, and a representative from the Atticus team will follow up with more information.

Atticus can provide advice and connect you with a disability lawyer to support your application process. There are no upfront costs — you only pay an attorney when they win you benefits.

Ready to get benefits today?

Related resources:

Everything You Should Know About Disability Benefits (SSDI and SSI)

By Sarah Aitchison

An Easy-to-Follow Guide to Applying for Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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