Philadelphia emergency financial assistance.

Find how to get emergency financial assistance in Philadelphia from Community Centers located across the county. Other non-profit organizations such as Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN) as well as the Salvation Army administer resources. Low income, seniors, and elderly residents can receive emergency housing, utility, and other assistance through these main providers. Services administered include federal and state funded programs, and also get help from local non-profit organizations. Learn more about the various emergency assistance programs in Philadelphia below.

Receive up to one month of rent, or funds to pay first month's rent, from the Federal Emergency Mortgage Assistance Food and Shelter Program. Philadelphia residents who meet low income guidelines may be able to receive emergency grants and funds for paying first month's rent for a new apartment or home, one month's worth of total back rent, or funds can even be used to pay the highest utility bill (whether electric, heating, or water) in any month. Funding is very limited, and money can usually only help people who meet low income guidelines, which may include poverty guidelines. The TURN organization (phone number below) can provide more information.

Additional emergency housing or shelter can be provided by the Emergency Shelter Assistance Program. This provides housing and rental assistance to low-income Philadelphia residents. The assistance offered can include money to pay security deposits or back rent. Applicants to the program must be referred to TURN by the Philadelphia County Assistance Office, which is located at 801 Market Street. Or to learn more you can dial the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at 215-560-1976 to speak to a representative.

A number of non-profits in the Philadelphia area, including the Salvation Army and TURN, can provide information on and help people apply for the Utility Emergency Services Fund. This program can help low income and vulnerable individuals and families stabilize their housing situation. City of Philadelphia residents can get help with paying heating bills, utility, rent, mortgage payments, and security deposits. Among resources offered include self-sufficiency training as well as ongoing counseling. Phone number (215) 972-5170.





Another resource available for low income individuals are located at Philadelphia Community Centers. Individuals can meet with a Salvation Army Case Worker to learn about and apply for financial assistance, and more importantly access case management for long term self-sufficiency. There are a total of five community centers around the county and the city. Case Workers at the centers have a monthly budget allocation with which they can try to provide assistance to qualified individuals.

Each case worker will try to do what they can to help as many people as possible, but the primary requests to which the Salvation Case Workers respond to are clothing, food, utility bills, prescriptions and rental assistance. However the amount of money they have to provide is very limited. The Salvation Army also receives a range of non-traditional requests for other basic needs.

While most of the assistance is provided to low and very low income people, seniors, and disabled, there are no exclusive eligibility requirements to receive assistance from the Salvation Army in Philadelphia. The financial assistance and grants are usually short term in nature. The Case Workers at the community centers will attempt to leverage the dollars that are at their disposal by collaborating with other local charities, government programs and non-profit agencies to maximize the effect of the assistance provided.




If a case worker at a community center can't help you, they will attempt to provide individuals with referrals to other social service agencies, churches, and charities that may be able to assist the client. To learn more about the community centers or case workers, dial The Salvation Army’s general number at (215) 787-2800.

Philadelphia Tenant Union Representative Network

A non-profit that offers an extensive array of financial assistance to qualified residents. The organization is often referred to s TURN. Resources offered include those below. Or call 215-940-3900 for more information.

  • Emergency financial assistance with mortgage, rent, and utility bills. This is provided only when money is available, as funding is limited. Find more Philadelphia mortgage assistance.
  • Receive free legal defense in eviction actions or foreclosure filings.
  • Learn about how to get rental unit repair problems, and what your rights are.
  • Legal assistance with housing discrimination claims.
  • Providing referrals to additional support services across Philadelphia.




By Jon McNamara

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