Jefferson County assistance programs.

Locate help with rent, electric and heating bills, and food

Federal government stimulus funds are flowing to Watertown and the Jefferson County region. The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County Inc. has been provided its second installment of stimulus grants. Call (315) 782-4900.

The agency, which manages a variety of assistance programs including FEMA funds for local agencies and charities, was provided notice earlier this month that it will receive extra FEMA dollars, bringing the total provided up to about $150,000 which will be used for shelter, food, and energy bills. It is expected that a large portion of the money will go to help paying utility and heating bills, as the need there is at the highest.

The second highest need for local residents is rent assistance. The agency's emergency rent assistance program serves as a last resort for those families who have had a denial from the Jefferson County Department of Social Services for rent help.  More and more people are looking for rent help to prevent eviction from their homes and apartments.

Some of the other beneficiaries of the aid include $10,000 was given to the Salvation Army for its soup kitchen, $12,500 went to the Watertown Urban Mission food pantry, and an additional $9,000 was divided among 15 smaller food pantries in Jefferson County to provide food assistance. Also, the Community Action Planning Council received about $5,000 to provide short term rent assistance and help for utility bills.

Additional help for bills in Jefferson County NY

A new program called Helping Eradicate All Roads to Homelessness, or HEARTH, could help hundreds of local residents with rent, heating, utility bills, and more. Jefferson County Social Services was awarded almost $2 million in federal government stimulus package funds for a project that aims to both prevent and reduce homelessness in all three counties in upstate New York. They will also be able to refer people to mortgage and foreclosure programs, including foreclosure mediation. Read more on mediation.





The HEARTH program will provide rental and utility bill assistance, emergency motel and hotel vouchers, money to pay for security deposits, moving costs, legal help, credit repair services, and landlord-tenant dispute resolution. They will also provide help to people so they can find affordable housing for households at or below 50 percent of median income in each of the three counties of New York.

Contact the Jefferson County Social Services to apply or learn more information. Or dial (315) 782-9030.

Northern New York and Jefferson County Catholic Charities is another leading organization in the region. A number of basic needs can be met. They offer assistance programs for children and pregnancy mothers as well as newborns. Some limited financial aid may be paid out for expenses such as rent or heating bills. Social workers from the charity will also work with clients to help them get situated and find the resources they need for long term housing and self-sufficiency. Other Catholic Charity programs, either directly offered or by referral, include food and holiday support and more. Click here.

The Jefferson County Community Action Agency offers low income and poor families a number of programs. Some of them include free food and nutrition assistance, housing/utility assistance, rent help, educational programming, free IRS certified tax preparation, and holiday programs. They also provide case management and referrals to other northern New York resources.

All of the resources from the CAPC Community Action Planning Council are limited, especially when it comes to financial aid such as grants for paying a security deposit or rent. However, they also offer applications to federal government benefits, such as SNAP food stamps and summer meals for children. 518 Davidson Street,  Watertown, New York 13601-0899. Call 315-782-4900. Read Jefferson County community action.

Family Center Services has a couple offices in Watertown. This center mostly offers information about available resources in Jefferson County and referrals to other community agencies. They can direct residents to rental and housing programs, among other resources. Call (315) 782-4470 for intake or information.





Watertown Urban Mission food pantry serves hundreds of local families every month. Various churches and donations are sent to the food pantry which allow it to operate. It distributes surplus food, nonperishable items, clothing, and maybe even limited amount of financial support for emergency bills. The non-profit pantry also works with the USDA on feeding the needy. Over 40 local churches work with Watertown Urban Mission to help low income and struggling families.

Other assistance provided, based on resources, may include vouchers to the thrift store, gasoline vouchers for a medical appointment or job interview, help with prescription or baby formula for an overstretched family. Watertown Urban Mission is located at 247 Factory Street, Watertown, NY 13601. Phone (315) 782-8440. Read more Urban Mission of Watertown.

Jefferson County resources and charities can offer rent or security deposit help. Any type of funding is limited, and often relies on annual federal government grants. If available, there is often priority for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly or disabled in the community. More information.

Meals on Wheels Greater Watertown will provide home delivered meals for seniors as well as companionship. 315-782-5555

The Jefferson County Office for the Aging is for seniors citizens, the elderly, and their spouses. A number of assistance programs are offered, including a Nutrition Program. Home Delivered and Congregate Meals are also available in Jefferson County. Also learn about programs such as Medicare and senior employment. 785-3191. More on New York agency on aging.

Jefferson County Department of Social Services or DSS can help residents apply for government assistance. SNAP food stamps are available for families. Receive help with heating and utility bills from the New York HEAP program or weatherization. WIC will help ensures pregnant and/or breastfeeding women, infants, and children get the food and formula they need. Or get information on employment opportunities and job training.

Jefferson County and Watertown Salvation Army offers social services for the low-income and military members. Emergency financial aid for rent or heating bills, holiday assistance, soup kitchen, and a free food pantry are available. Some of the other resources include shelter and assistance in finding a permanent home in the northern New York region. Case managers are willing to assist all qualified Watertown low income families. 723 State Street, Watertown, New York 13601, Call 782-4470, or click Watertown Salvation Army financial resources.




Community Action Planning Council is a leading non-profit organization. Food assistance is offered from a pantry and the Nutrition Outreach Education Program (NOEP). 782-4900

Army Emergency Relief (AER) provides emergency financial assistance to soldiers and their families in Watertown and Fort Drum. Call 772-6560.

North Country Children’s Clinic/Women, Infants and Children (NCCC/WIC) is a regional facility. The center offers free or low cost Primary Care, Dental, and school based medical care. The health clinic is available to the public.





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