Finding affordable motel accommodations can be a challenge, especially if you’re facing financial hardship. Motel vouchers provide a valuable option, allowing you to stay in motels temporarily at a reduced cost or sometimes even free of charge.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: You can get motel vouchers in California through government assistance programs, charities, churches, shelters, and other organizations.

Key options include General Relief, California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), and vouchers from nonprofit agencies.

This comprehensive guide covers all you need to know about obtaining motel vouchers while in California. You’ll learn eligibility requirements for government aid programs that provide vouchers, plus find a listing of charities and nonprofits that offer assistance.

Getting Motel Vouchers Through Government Aid Programs

If you are in need of temporary shelter in California, there are various government aid programs that provide motel vouchers to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness or facing emergency situations.

These programs aim to ensure that everyone has access to safe and secure housing, even if it is only for a short period of time.


General Relief Program

The General Relief Program, administered by the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), offers emergency assistance to eligible individuals who are unable to meet their basic needs. In some cases, this assistance may include motel vouchers.

To qualify for the General Relief Program, individuals must meet certain income and residency requirements, and may be subject to additional eligibility criteria set by their county. To learn more about the General Relief Program and how to apply for motel vouchers, visit the DPSS website.


The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program provides temporary financial assistance and support services to low-income families with children. In certain situations, CalWORKs may offer motel vouchers to families who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

Eligibility for CalWORKs is determined based on income and family size, among other factors. To find out more about CalWORKs and the availability of motel vouchers, contact your local county office or visit the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) website.

Other State and County Programs

In addition to the General Relief Program and CalWORKs, there are other state and county programs in California that provide motel vouchers or other forms of temporary shelter assistance. These programs may have specific eligibility criteria, so it is important to contact your local county office or visit their official website for more information.

Some counties also partner with non-profit organizations to offer motel vouchers and other support services to individuals and families in need. These partnerships can provide additional resources and options for obtaining temporary shelter.

Remember, the availability and eligibility criteria for motel vouchers may vary depending on the specific program and county. It is recommended to reach out to the appropriate government agencies or organizations for the most up-to-date information and assistance.

Applying for Motel Vouchers from Charities and Nonprofits

When facing homelessness or in need of temporary shelter, individuals and families in California can turn to various charities and nonprofits for assistance.

These organizations offer motel vouchers as a means to provide temporary housing for those in crisis situations. By reaching out to these organizations, individuals can access immediate support and find a safe place to stay.

nonprofits for assistance

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities is one of the leading nonprofit organizations in California that provides motel vouchers to those in need. Their mission is to alleviate poverty and support individuals and families in crisis.

To apply for a motel voucher through Catholic Charities, individuals can visit their website or contact their local office for more information. The process typically involves completing an application and providing documentation to demonstrate the need for temporary housing.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is another reputable organization that offers motel vouchers to individuals and families facing homelessness. With a strong presence in California, The Salvation Army provides a range of services to those in need, including emergency shelter assistance.

To apply for a motel voucher from The Salvation Army, individuals can visit their website or reach out to their local office for guidance. The application process usually involves an interview and assessment to determine eligibility.

Local Homeless Shelters

Local homeless shelters also play a significant role in providing motel vouchers to individuals and families in California. These shelters often collaborate with various charities and nonprofits to offer temporary housing options.

To access motel vouchers through local homeless shelters, individuals can reach out to these organizations directly or visit their websites for more information. They may require individuals to provide documentation, such as proof of homelessness or financial hardship, to determine eligibility.

Remember: The availability of motel vouchers may vary depending on funding and resources. It’s essential to reach out to these organizations as soon as possible to inquire about their current programs and availability of motel vouchers.

Additionally, it’s crucial to provide accurate and honest information during the application process to ensure that those in the most need receive the support they require.

Using Church Groups and Food Banks

When in need of a motel voucher in California, there are various resources available to help individuals and families facing homelessness or other emergency situations.

Two common sources of assistance are church groups and food banks. These organizations often have programs in place to provide temporary shelter and support to those in need.

Church Service Programs

Many churches across California offer service programs aimed at helping the community, including providing motel vouchers to those in need.

These programs may be run by the church itself or in collaboration with other local organizations. They are designed to offer temporary accommodation to individuals or families who are experiencing homelessness or facing a crisis situation.

Church service programs typically have certain criteria that need to be met in order to receive a motel voucher. This may include proof of residency in the local area, identification documents, and a demonstration of the emergency or crisis situation.

It’s important to reach out to the specific church or organization to inquire about their requirements and availability of motel vouchers.

Some churches also collaborate with other community resources, such as homeless shelters or social service agencies, to provide additional support beyond the motel voucher. This can include access to meals, clothing, counseling services, and assistance with finding more permanent housing solutions.

Church Service Programs

Food Bank Emergency Aid

Food banks, which are non-profit organizations that distribute food to those in need, can also serve as a valuable resource for obtaining motel vouchers in California. While their primary focus is on providing food assistance, many food banks also offer emergency aid programs that extend beyond food provisions.

These emergency aid programs may include motel vouchers as a means of providing temporary shelter to individuals or families in crisis situations. The availability of motel vouchers through food banks may vary depending on the specific organization and the resources they have at their disposal.

When seeking a motel voucher through a food bank, it’s important to contact the organization directly to inquire about their emergency aid programs and the criteria for receiving a voucher. They may require documentation or proof of the emergency situation, similar to the requirements of church service programs.

It’s worth noting that the availability of motel vouchers through church groups and food banks may be limited and subject to funding and resources. Therefore, it’s advisable to reach out to multiple organizations in your area and explore other resources as well.

For more information on church service programs and food banks in California, you can visit the websites of organizations such as California Association of Food Banks and Church Finder.

Searching Additional Resources

When looking for motel vouchers in California, it’s important to explore additional resources that can assist you in finding the help you need. Here are a couple of options to consider:

211 Social Services Helpline

One valuable resource to utilize is the 211 social services helpline.

By dialing 211 on your phone, you can connect with a trained professional who will provide you with information on various social services available in your area, including motel vouchers. This helpline is available 24/7 and is an excellent starting point for individuals in need of immediate assistance.

Online Searches and Classifieds

Another way to find motel vouchers in California is by conducting online searches or browsing through classified ads.

Many organizations and charities that offer assistance programs have websites where they provide information on available resources. By searching online, you can find organizations that specifically offer motel vouchers and get in touch with them directly.

Additionally, classified websites or community forums may have individuals or organizations posting about available motel vouchers. These platforms can be a useful way to connect with people who are willing to provide assistance or have information on where to find motel vouchers.

Pro tip: When searching online, remember to use specific keywords like “motel vouchers in California” or “emergency housing assistance” to narrow down your results and find the most relevant information.

It’s important to note that availability of motel vouchers may vary depending on the location and the resources available in your area. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the organizations or agencies directly to inquire about their specific programs and eligibility criteria.

Meeting Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a motel voucher in California, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are put in place to ensure that assistance is given to those who truly need it. Here are the key factors that determine eligibility:

Income and Assets

The first criterion for eligibility is income and assets. The applicant’s income should be below a certain threshold, which varies depending on the county or city. This is to ensure that the assistance is directed towards individuals or families who are struggling financially.

Additionally, applicants should have limited assets, such as cash, savings, or property. The specific asset limits may also vary depending on the location.

For more detailed information on income and asset limits, it is recommended to visit the official website of the California Department of Social Services.

Residency Status

Another important requirement is residency status. To be eligible for a motel voucher, individuals must be residents of California. Proof of residency, such as a valid California ID or utility bills in the applicant’s name, may be required during the application process.

This requirement ensures that the assistance is provided to individuals who are living in the state and facing a temporary housing crisis.

Family Size

The size of the applicant’s family also plays a role in determining eligibility for a motel voucher. Different programs may have specific guidelines regarding family size and the number of individuals who can be covered under the voucher.

It is important to check the requirements of the specific program or organization providing the assistance to ensure that the family size falls within the criteria.

Family Size


Temporary motel vouchers can provide much-needed shelter if you’re facing homelessness or housing instability.

While government agencies have the most options, nonprofits, churches, shelters and other local groups also offer support. Reach out to confirm eligibility and follow application steps to get the motel assistance you need in California.

Understanding and meeting these eligibility requirements is crucial for individuals seeking a motel voucher in California. By fulfilling these criteria, applicants can increase their chances of receiving the assistance they need during a temporary housing crisis.

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