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Assistance programs Watertown and Jefferson County New York

Find how to get financial assistance from the government, churches, and charities in the Watertown region. Get help with paying bills (heating, electric, rent or security deposits), mortgage and foreclosure counseling, free food or medical care and other support. There are dozens of agencies in Jefferson County that help low income families by issuing grants or loans for paying bills as well as giving free gasoline vouchers, clothing, and case management.

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

Federal government funds are provided to the Watertown and the Jefferson County region in most years. The Community Action Agency (Planning Council of Jefferson County Inc.) will often have grants to provide, or referrals. Call (315) 782-4900.

The agency, which manages a variety of assistance programs including FEMA funds for local agencies and charities, is given funding on an annual basis. The funds 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 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.

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.




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 more on Jefferson County community action.

Some of the other beneficiaries of the financial aid from the government include the Salvation Army for its soup kitchen, the Watertown Urban Mission food pantry, and other groups. Community Action also partners with smaller food pantries in Jefferson County to provide food assistance. Also, the Community Action Planning Council offers, as grant and loan funding allows, short term rent assistance and help for utility bills.

A program called Helping Eradicate All Roads to Homelessness, or HEARTH, can help local residents with rent, heating, utility bills, and more. Jefferson County Social Services will, in most years, have federal government funds to help low income families 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 free foreclosure 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. Find details on the local/regional Catholic Charities financial support in Ogdensburg.

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. Continue with rent assistance in Jefferson County area.

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

Jefferson County and Watertown regional Free Thanksgiving Meal and Christmas toy programs are operating on an annual basis. Low income families with children, or the elderly who are on a limited income, can apply for help. Various resources are offered. More on free holiday assistance in Jefferson County New York.

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.

Homeless prevention, deposit and rent programs - Several agencies, ranging from DSS to non-profits and charities, may provide cash grants or other forms of financial help to pay for housing expenses in the Watertown region. This ranges from rent to utility or security deposits, moving costs and more. They also help military families. More on rent assistance in Jefferson County.





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.

The Salvation Army also gives out free back to school supplies as well as runs the Angel Tree and Adopt a Family Christmas gift and meal programs. Case managers are willing to assist all qualified Watertown low income families. 723 State Street, Watertown, New York 13601, Call 782-4470, or clickWatertown 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.

By Jon McNamara


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