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General Assistance

Eligible residents without any means of financial support may apply in-person for help with rent, utilities, some transportation, toiletries and food. The resident must be:

  • unable to support him/herself,
  • have no personal or family resources that can help, and
  • ineligible for federal and state aid, including CalWORKS/SonomaWORKS, or other community help.

General Assistance rules require that:

  • Some clients under age 62 work part-time for the county. These grants last for a total of 90 days during a 12-month period.
  • Clients who are disabled must get written proof from a doctor and may be eligible for benefits until the doctor’s note expires.
  • Clients who will be disabled longer than six months receive help to apply for Supplemental Security Income.

Who May be Eligible

  • Residents of Sonoma County for at least 15 days
  • U.S. citizens or legal immigrants
  • Age 18 or older
  • Married couples under age 18
  • Minors ineligible for other aid
  • Disabled or incapacitated adults
  • Students who are incapacitated or can work the required hours
  • Pregnant women, before they reach the second trimester, with no other children
  • Income and resources (such as a bank account) are below the financial limits 

You may be eligible for other aid programs, but cannot qualify for General Assistance if you are:

  • a family with children under age 18 
  • a pregnant women after the second trimester
  • a full-time student who cannot work the required hours
  • undocumented. 

Property Limits for Eligibility

  • Personal property of $500 or less
  • Cash resources of $50 or less
  • One vehicle or two vehicles with a total value of less than $3000. Any vehicle used as a home is not counted.

How To Apply

Completing your application can take up to two visits. See the steps to below.

Step 1: Complete a General Assistance Application and Schedule a Date for Your Interview

  • To get started, drop in to the Economic Assistance Division, 2550 Paulin Drive., Santa Rosa during business hours. 
  • You will set a date for an in-person interview at the office. It’s important to attend the interview so you don’t have to start the application process again

Step 2: Complete Your Interview

  • During the interview with our staff, you’ll learn how to complete your program to remain eligible for your grant. You’ll set a work schedule at the county, if you are required to work. You’ll be able to get your questions about the program answered.

Step 3: Report Changes within Five Days

  • If you have changes to your income, property, address or the number of people in your household, call our office to let us know.

If you have any more questions, visit our General Assistance FAQ Page