University of Idaho Extension

Resources to Help You Live Well

Loan application graphic

Finding Help

It’s hard to live well if you’re facing financial challenges. Unemployment, high consumer debt, and rising costs of living are forcing many Idahoans to seek resources that can help them cope.

University of Idaho Extension compiled information to assist you in reducing costs and finding the help you need during these tough times. For general help, start with:

2-1-1 IdahoCareLine:

Learn about programs that offer free or low-cost human services. The Idaho CareLine, sponsored by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and United Way, is a free, statewide community information and referral service. It provides contact information for more than 3,400 different programs and organizations throughout Idaho. Idaho CareLine can also be accessed on the telephone by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.

Idaho Community Action Partnership:

Six regional Community Action Partnership (CAP) agencies provide assistance with home weatherization, home heating, emergency food, telephone service, and tax-preparation.

Help with Finances

Financial Security: Managing Money in Tough Times:

University of Idaho Extension has teamed with other land-grant universities to offer information from family economists around the nation. Topics include: How to Avoid a Mortgage Crisis, Debt Management, Keeping a Roof Overhead, etc.

Idaho Attorney General’s Office: Consumer Information:

Downloadable bulletins and pamphlets related to many consumer issues are available from the Consumer Protection unit of the state’s Office of Attorney General.

Income Enhancement through The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides tax credits; first-time homebuyer credits; increased payments to Social Security recipients, Railroad Retirees, and veterans, and more.

Idaho Department of Finance: Financial Literacy Links and Resources:

Many links to government and non-profit educational Websites, as well as financial education pamphlets, can be found on the Financial Literacy link of the Idaho Department of Finance’s Education menu.

Idaho Department of Insurance:

This department’s Consumer Alerts menu contains current information about many insurance issues. Numerous useful insurance fact sheets are available under the Publications menu. Click on Consumers or Senior Services to find valuable information.

eXtension: Ask an Expert:

Type in your personal finance question, and an Extension expert will answer your query within 72 hours.

Idaho’s Two Cent Tips:

Numerous financial topics are explained in this monthly electronic newsletter developed by University of Idaho Extension educators. Readers call it "fun to read" and "informative." This Website allows you to read past issues or sign up for the distribution list.

Help with Filing and replacing important papers

Publication: Your Important Papers: What, Why, and How Long to Keep
A systematic plan for keeping track of important documents can save you hours of anxious searching for misplaced items. It can also help you reduce the amount of non-important papers cluttering your home.

Publication: Help Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents
During a disaster important papers may be destroyed, lost, or damaged. In this publication, you will find information and sources to help you replace your important papers.

Help Finding a Job

Filing for unemployment

Idaho Department of Labor:

Learn about unemployment benefits in Idaho and file an on-line claim.

Local Idaho Department of Labor offices:

If you prefer to visit one of Idaho’s 25 local Department of Labor offices to file an unemployment claim, this Website provides a list of community locations.

Job search assistance

Idaho Department of Labor:

If you need to file for unemployment benefits, search for a job, or learn how to apply for state or federal job openings, this Website will be useful.

Help with Housing

Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA):

IHFA provides housing counseling, rental assistance, homeownership education, senior housing, emergency shelter, and other assistance to individuals who qualify because of limited income. IHFA’s main office is located in Boise. Branch offices are in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls.

Idaho Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

The Idaho office of this federal agency provides links to housing authorities in several Idaho cities and rental assistance to people with low income.

Help Feeding Your Family

Idaho Food Stamp Program:

Learn if you’re eligible and apply on-line.

Commodity foods:

The Emergency Food Assistance Program is a federal program that helps provide eligible households with food made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the State of Idaho. The program is managed by regional Community Action Partnership (CAP) agencies. Food commodities are available year-round, with the type of food dependent on availability. Household eligibility is based on income.

Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC):

The WIC program provides nutrition and health information and nutritious supplemental foods.

Free and reduced lunch in Idaho schools:

This program operates in public and non-profit private schools and residential childcare institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced and free or reduced-cost lunches to children each school day. Find out if your child qualifies and access applications from this link.

Food banks:

The Idaho Foodbank provides food, information, and supportive services to hungry people through three regional distribution centers and local partnerships. Its Website includes links to other food banks.

Extension Nutrition Education:

University of Idaho Extension offers educational programs that teach low-income families with children how to get the most from their food dollars and prepare tasty, low-cost, healthy meals for their families.

Help with Home Fuel & Energy Costs

Idaho Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

This HUD Website links to organizations in Idaho that provide help paying your utility bill or home weatherization.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP):

This Website links to programs that provide home-energy funding assistance to households that have low and fixed incomes or that are experiencing unexpected emergencies. The site also provides Internet information service for state, tribal, and local LIHEAP providers.

Help for Children & Families

Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho:

In Idaho, the cash assistance program for low-income families with children is called Temporary Assistance for Families in Idaho (TAFI). It has a 24-month limit and provides supportive services to assist participants with finding or retaining work.

Help for the Elderly

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA):

Six Idaho regional offices administer and manage services and program for adults age 60 and older.


This national organization’s Website provides a wealth of useful information targeting adults age 50 and older. It features information about money, leisure, family, and community activism and even has an on-line community.

Help with College Funding

Idaho Scholarships:

This Board of Education Website lists scholarships (for both technical and professional-technical programs) and additional programs for Idaho residents.

Help with Health Care


Idaho offers four Medicaid benefit plans for low-income children and adults. Each emphasizes prevention and wellness.

Other Health Insurance:

The State of Idaho offers two premium assistance programs to support the purchase of private health insurance--Access to Health Insurance (AHI) and the Access Card for children.

Public Health:

Idaho has seven health districts offering free or low-cost preventive health services. Other services vary from district to district, ranging from community health nursing and home health nursing to environmental health, dental hygiene, and nutrition.

Prescription drugs

Idaho’s Medicaid program:

If you qualify, most Medicaid plans have prescription coverage. Apply through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.


This program connects qualified, low-income people with discount prescription drugs, direct from the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Needy Meds:

This non-profit helps patients find help with the cost of prescription drugs.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance:

Sponsored by America’s pharmaceutical research companies, this Website helps uninsured and financially struggling patients who lack prescription coverage get access to prescription assistance programs that offer medicines for free or nearly free.

help with Legal matters

Idaho Legal Aid Services:

Low-income Idahoans can get legal representation for many problem areas, including domestic violence, housing, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps through seven regional Legal Aid offices.

Developed by:

Marilyn C. Bischoff
University of Idaho Extension Professor and Family Economics Specialist
322 E. Front St., Ste. 180
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 364-9910

2014 Update by:

Nancy M. Porter, Ph.D.
Extension Personal and Family Finance Consultant
University of Idaho
(864) 650-8289

Other credits:

Educational Communications,
University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences:
Editing: Marlene Fritz, Communications Specialist, Boise
Web Design: Jacob Peterson, Web Designer, Moscow

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