Basic Needs

Our neighbors must have adequate food, housing and utilities in order to achieve self-sufficiency.

What we do

We're improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in our community by supporting efforts that provide food, clothing, shelter and services that keep them safe and healthy.

How we do it

To get there, we work with programs, partnerships and agency services that invest in information services, transitional shelters and housing, food programs and emergency assistance.

So far we've helped:

2-1-1 answer 183,547 Calls in the central Indiana service area last year

Serve 5,700 homeless and transitional individuals and families

2,900 adults and 1,351 children receive emergency shelter after fleeing domestic violence

Basic Needs Programs

  • Energy Assistance
  • Winter Assistance
  • United Christmas

Energy Assistance

What it is

Indy EAP (Energy Assistance Program) assists individuals and families with the high costs of home energy so they can live comfortably in Central Indiana.

How it Helps

Based on household size, as well as housing income and status, eligible families receive a one-time benefit paid to the utility company to offset the high cost of winter utility bills.

What you can do

For more information about the Energy Assistance Program, dial 2-1-1 or visit to schedule an appointment.

Learn More

Winter Assistance

What it is

No one should have ​to endure the winter without heat or electricity. The Winter Assistance Fund helps ensure that those who need energy assistance the most have warm homes during the coldest months of the year.

How it Helps

For Marion County residents the Winter Assistance Fund runs from January to April, and helps those who can’t afford heat and electricity, but don’t qualify for the government’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

What you can do

If you or a loved one needs energy assistance, please dial Connect2Help’s 2-1-1 referral line – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Donate to winter assistance fund

United Christmas

What it is

Since the beginning of our United Christmas Service program in 1952, United Way of Central Indiana has made an effort to assist families in need during the holiday season. Caseworkers from our partner organizations refer to UCS qualified families who are currently engaged in their agency's services.

View FAQs

How You can help

Through your donations, families in need of limited assistance during the holidays are referred to the Direct Assistance Program. Each family receives a restricted voucher that can be used for food, clothing and/or toys based on the number of people in the family. Applicants are subject to a thorough review process.


We encourage anyone who would like to personalize their contribution by writing a note to a family in need to use the templates below.

Adult template
Child template

Seeking Assistance?

In order to be considered for assistance through United Christmas Service, you must be referred to the program through a partner organization, where you are currently engaged in services. UCS assists people living in Marion, Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, and Morgan counties. If you live in any other county and are seeking help, please contact your local 2-1-1 or local United Way.

View other holiday assistance programs

Help in the most critical time of need

Annette and her family lost their entire home after an apartment fire woke them one night. Thanks to United Way-supported American Red Cross, they had somewhere to turn in their most critical time of need.

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Getting back on her feet and giving back

After being released from a three-year prison sentence, re-entering the general population was hard for Quortney. Like so many others, the reality hit quickly that she was left alone to fend for herself without a job or stable housing.

Read More

Additional Basic Needs Programs