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Oneida County assistance programs.

Learn where and how to apply for emergency financial assistance from charities, churches, or the Oneida County government social services. Get grants to help with rent, security deposits or utility bills as well as free food from pantries or healthcare from community clinics. There is also section 8 housing, free school supply programs for students, furniture in the Rome area, and other financial aid as well as free stuff for the low income in Oneida County.

In addition, low income families or immigrants can also get free legal aid, mortgage help, or emergency heating bill help or free Christmas toys during the winter. Find these assistance programs, as well as loans and deposit help, in cities including Utica as well as Rome

Eviction prevention and rent assistance

Individuals and families that live in Herkimer and Oneida counties who are facing an eviction because of the poor economy or some other financial emergency now may be able to receive help from a partnership of six charities and agencies that are partnering with the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is often provided with federal government funds to the agency to fund the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program. Hundreds of families in the Oneida County New York region often get help each year.

The rent and housing assistance program is open to households who live in the two counties. The money will be granted to people who have been recently laid off or who have had their income cut. The grants and funds can be used to help pay for security deposits, moving and storage expenses, utility bills, legal assistance with eviction actions, credit repair, eviction prevention services, and even heating bills.

There are some conditions to receiving aid, and eligible households need to have income at or below 50 percent of the area median income. This would mean that typical incomes would be under $20,000 for an individual or $27,900 for a family of four. Priority for assistance will be given to those households that may be facing eviction within two weeks or living in condemned housing. Call 315.624.0821




There are several different places people can turn to to learn more or apply for aid. Participating charities and agencies, the services they will provide and contact phone numbers are:

  • Catholic Charities of Oneida-Madison counties, offers rent assistance and help for security deposits, utility assistance, heating bills, and moving costs. An extensive array of social services are available as well. Other programs can provide free food, meals for children, and Christmas and holiday aid. Last, but not least, counseling services may be facilitated, including housing and credit repair. Utica 724-0120, Rome 337-8600, or find more on the Oneida Catholic Charities assistance programs.
  • Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, rent help and security deposits, Rome 339-2649, Herkimer 866-0030.
  • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central New York, turn to this group for credit card help and budget counseling and credit repair, Utica 797-5366. They can help people with a variety of debt and financial issues. Read more credit card help.
  • Legal Aid Society of Mid-NY, deals with a variety of civil legal matters. Some of the free legal services are for eviction prevention for renters and also credit repair assistance. 793-7077.
  • American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley, offers short term heating and utility bill help. Utica 733-4666, Herkimer 866-2890.
  • Catholic Charities of Herkimer County, funds for security deposits, motel vouchers, utility bill assistance, moving costs. Ilion New York, 894-9917

Contact these agencies for help with bills, rent, housing, and other expenses.





Free legal aid in Utica, Rome, and Oneida

Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. -  This is a non-profit law firm that provides free legal representation, advice and counseling in civil cases and matters that involve support for the low income and working families. Programs offered include preservation of the home, foreclosure advice, eviction prevention, maintaining economic stability and providing for the safety, stability and health of low-income people, including elderly, senior citizens and/or disabled persons who live alone and are in need of free legal services. 315-793-7000. Click here for additional NY legal aid.

Assistance from Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, Inc.

This is the local Oneida County and Utica New York community action agency. The services they offer to low income and other qualified individuals includes the list below. The agency can coordinate grants for paying bills in a crisis, while case managers address longer term issues. Phone 315.624.0821

  • FAMILY SELF SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM - Get access to rental vouchers, counseling and case management help. The aid can assist families and individuals with obtaining full time employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency for the applicants.
  • EMERGENCY SHELTER AND RENT GRANTS - Low income families can get access to grants that provide emergency assistance for rent, and can be used for either arrears or first month's rent. Payment is limited to one month payment of rent or housing help. Unfortunately funds cannot be used to pay for security deposits. A key is on preventing homelessness.
  • Home Energy Assistance Program - This will help low income individuals pay for heating, electric, and energy bills. The agency can also help people sign up for the New York State weatherization, or energy conservation program.
  • Government phone programs - Senior citizens, the disabled, and very low income families may get help hooking up a telephone or activating a cell phone as well as bill payment help. Find details on telephone bill assistance in New York.
  • Foreclosure counseling - Learn about foreclosure prevention programs and mortgage assistance from this community action agency.
  • RESTORE, or Residential Emergency Services to Offer Home Repairs to the Elderly, can assist elderly homeowners in Oneida County with emergency home repairs, including roofs, furnaces, foundations, and much more.
  • To find more assistance, click here Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency programs.





Financial assistance for paying bills

The following non-profits and charities may be able to help Oneida County and Utica area families.

Catholic Charities of Oneida County (phone (315) 724-2158) may be able to provide limited financial assistance, access to a food pantry and clothing closet. A real focus is on ensuring seniors and children receive the nutrition they need.

State, local, and national government assistance programs offer financial help. There are often non-profits that partner with the state on these resources. They help the poor and disadvantaged among others. Find details on applying for government assistance.

Rome and Utica Salvation Army 315-336-4260 - This agency offers the following assistance for bills and expenses. Examples of services provided are as follows. Emergency Assistance includes resources such as shelter, emergency financial aid for paying utility and heating bills, rent and housing expenses. Seasonal programs in Oneida County include food and nutrition programs, summer meals for children, free Christmas assistance, back to school items, and worship services. Click more information on Salvation Army assistance programs in Utica.

Johnson Park Center focuses on the city of Utica. Most of the aid is focused on food, housing, and self-sufficiency, but other support may be provided too. When it comes to housing, there may be loans for paying rent or funds for a security deposit as part of rehousing. They also run a Family Shelter and Bridge House transitional housing program for the homeless or single parents.

Other support includes a free food pantry and soup kitchen, and the youth in Utica can gain education and assistance from a drop in center. Many other resources are available in Oneida County, and read Johnson Park Center services.

Short term housing and emergency rent help - Find additional sources of funds that can be used for families facing homelessness. Non-profits may offer money for rent or can place a client into shelter. Read more on rent assistance in Oneida County.

Social services and Temporary Assistance - Oneida County provides low income families with access to a number of government and public aid programs. Resources can provide short term cash for paying bills, and include programs such as HEAP and food stamps. Other government assistance programs include health care and medical bill assistance, job training, and day care. Basically the county will do what it can to help the less fortunate, including seniors, children, and others who are at risk. Get more information on emergency assistance in Oneida County.

Food assistance programs and pantries

Country Pantry of Rome NY offers emergency and Supplemental Food for Low Income Families in the Oneida County area. Call 336-2433





The Salvation Army Food Pantry is located in Utica. This pantry provides meals, groceries, vouchers, and holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas) assistance.

Free holiday meals from soup kitchens may be offered. There are easter baskets (including ham) or Christmas meals and stockings for children. Or find where to get a free Thanksgiving turkey.

Many other free pantries as well as soup kitchens operate in the region. Residents can get help regardless of their age, income, or race. Or staff offer referrals to resources such as SNAP food stamps or local soup kitchens that partner with Feeding America. Read more free food pantries in Oneida.


By Jon McNamara

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