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Assistance programs in Cortland County.

Find how to get and where apply for financial assistance in Cortland County. Struggling individuals or families, seniors, and the unemployed can get help from charities, churches, or government assistance or Social Services. Find help with rent or energy bills, a free box of groceries or a hot meal, school supplies or clothes and more.

Agencies help struggling families. Whether it is money to pay utility, electric or heating bills, free Christmas toys for kids, medical care or prescription drugs, assistance is offered. Social Services and charities also address job placement or career training, credit or debt issues, and address transportation need in Cortland.

Help with bills and access social services

Catholic Charities of Cortland (dial (607) 756-5992) is a non-profit, church based family service agency that provides people direct human services through a variety of assistance programs and other services. Some of the resources offered to qualified individuals includes Emergency Financial Assistance, Basic Needs, and a free Community Food Pantry. There is also grants or Funds for Utility and Heating Bills, STEPS/Teen Services, Men’s Club and more. The organization also works with local churches to provide food, meals, and help to people facing eviction or who are homeless. Social workers also partner with state of New York to provide public aid to the needy. Read more Cortland Catholic Charities assistance.

Another of the leading non-profit agencies to turn to for financial aid or free stuff is the Cortland County Salvation Army. This non-profit also offers the needy several different programs, including Seasonal Assistance including free back to school supplies, Christmas toys or holiday meals.

The Cortland Salvation Army may offer Comprehensive Emergency Assistance for paying bills and rent. There is a free soup kitchen for Community Meals, or Free Groceries and Food from the Pantry. The non-profit also coordinates other resources for children, including Summer Fun Days, Youth Service, School Supplies, and other aid. Call (607) 753-9363, or read more Salvation Army Cortland County assistance programs.




The Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO) runs some of its own assistance programs, and is also a leading agency to turn to for access to both New York and federal government programs. They offer the following options.

  • Weatherization : This program can pay for the insulation of floors, roofs, and walls, Can repair & replace heating systems, repair & replace hot water tanks, install  caulking and weather-stripping, inspect appliances, and offers various other energy saving updates to homes.
  • Energy bill help : Learn about the federal government / New York LIHEAP utility program. This assistance can help prevent a disconnection and also offers regular, ongoing cash grants. Find other options for money to pay utility or heating bills.
  • Family Development works towards self-sufficiency and offers free budgeting, fiscal literacy; nutrition; education and parent support through Parents With Hope groups.
  • Head Start is available. This is for children under the age of 5. It addresses educational needs, food, and even medical care. Parents can enroll into social service programs.
  • Or apply for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC. This is a free food and nutrition education program for women that are pregnant, breastfeeding or up to 6 months postpartum Babies, infants, and children under five can also get vouchers to pay for formula, nutritious foods, and nutrition counseling. Or the parent can get referrals to health care. WIC helps ensure women and children get the healthy food they need for their development.
  • Property tax referrals can be arranged. The community action agency can help the elderly, low income, or vulnerable through exceptions or other support. Find how to get property tax help.
  • Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO) is one of the leading organizations in southern New York. A number of other assistance programs are offered to the low income, unemployed and working poor.





Call the Cortland County Community Action Program at (607) 753-6781 or stop by 32 N. Main Street. Additional emergency assistance and referrals are offered as well. Read more Community Action Agency Cortland County.

Cortland County Social Services Department is the main point of contact for federal government and state of New York assistance. Examples of the programs offered are below. Social Service in effect offers public aid.

  • Medicaid (for health care needs) or Medicare applications.
  • Cortland HEAP (grants for paying heating and utility bills)
  • SNAP Food Stamps or free school lunches for kids.
  • Daycare and Employment Services related to assisting individuals in achieving self-sufficiency, including free daycare vouchers.
  • Assisted living and senior housing programs. Even learn about free PACE homecare for the elderly in New York.

They also offer other emergency aid, grants or loans. A formal application process is in place for each of these services. 60 Central Avenue, Cortland, New York. Call (607) 753-5248.

J.M. Murray Center, Inc. assists people who receive Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) services. Get assistance with one-time expenses such as moving costs, basic and necessary furniture and household goods, deposits, and even rent and/or utility stipends. 823 NYS Route 13, Cortland NY 13045, telephone (607) 756-9913.

Bible Baptist Church runs a food pantry and offers other support for children and students. Call (607) 756-7716.

Grace Episcopal Church partners with the Food Bank of Central New York. Groceries and canned food goods are distributed in an effort to eliminate hunger in the Cortland community. Other places that are also part of this service are Helping Hands and Ukrainian Pentecostal Food Pantries.

Grace Christian Fellowship operates a pantry and provides free groceries and other support. It is only open Friday morning, so one day per week. Call (607) 749-3233, or click here New York pantries.

There are several other free food banks, soup kitchens for meals and pantries in the community as well. What is available at each one will vary, but clients can expect to get groceries, be served a meal, or get referrals to food stamp application sites. Other aid may be provided too. More on free food pantries in Cortland County.

Free new and gently used clothing

Contact the Grace Christian Fellowship, phone number 607-749-3233. They run a clothing closet that can help  those in need. There may be free winter coats for kids, small Christmas or birthday toys, car seats for infants, and more free items

Free legal aid

Legal Services of CNY is a non-profit law firm that provides free, civil legal assistance as well as advice to low to moderate income families and individuals in the area. Attorneys will represent people in court, assist with administrative hearings, and represent lower income Cortland residents before government agencies or even the legislature.





The work of these attorneys will help clients deal with some of life’s most basic needs, such as a safe home, help prevent an eviction or foreclosure, enough food to eat. Free lawyers also help coordinate access to medical and health care, a decent education, protection against fraud and illegal debt collection tactics and loans, and personal safety. Phone - (607) 753-1134

Cortland New York medical care and clinics

Family Medicine of Cortland may offer some low cost medical care, based on a sliding fee scale, to the low income and uninsured. Services include Immunizations, Well Child Care, Women's Health/OB, and more. (607) 758-3008.

Cortland County Public Health Department can direct people to government resources such as Medicaid or Medicare. In addition, the county runs an Immunization Program that provides routine immunizations for uninsured and under-insured persons. Other medical assistance is for pregnant and post-partal women. 60 Central Avenue, Cortland New York 13045, call (607) 753-5028 for intake


By Jon McNamara














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