Saratoga County assistance programs.

Thousands of individuals are struggling to make ends meet in the upstate region of New York. The United Way and several other charities and non-profit agencies have tried to increase the number and effectiveness of the assistance programs they are offering. Some of the funding is coming from the federal government, and some is coming from private donors and businesses.

Housing help, food, and shelter

This is one of the programs that has been funded by the federal government. The Emergency Food and Shelter Program was both created and funded by the US Congress. The goal of the program is to assist with meeting the needs of hungry people in the area, people facing evictions and those who are currently homeless people throughout New York, the United States and its territories. The program allocates federal government funds and grants to provide food and shelter to qualified applicants. While local agencies run the program, you can call the United Way of the Greater Capital Region at 518.456.2200 to learn where to apply.

Discount prescription drug cards

If you help paying for medications, the FamilyWize program distributes discount prescription drug cards across Saratoga County and the local community. The card is free. There is no cost to people to apply or use the discount card.




The prescription discount card can lower the cost of patients medicine by an average of 30% or more. While it may may sound too good to be true, it is in fact the case, and the card is free to all applicants. Over 95% of both local pharmacies as well as those across the nation have agreed to provide lower prescription medication pricing to everyone that brings in a FamilyWize prescription drug discount card. Click here to learn more on discount cards. Visit to also learn more.

Cars and transportation

The Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc runs the Wheels for Work program. This is an extensive transportation program, and it provides reliable cars to low to moderate income as well as other struggling Saratoga County residents. The cars are used in order to maintain employment for qualified individuals.





Upon acceptance into the Wheels to Work program, the program participant is provided with $350 toward car insurance, a reliable car, budget and debt counseling, points reduction classes, AAA membership, infant/child car seat, and even driving lessons if needed. (518) 587-3158.

Community services

If you need some short term help for an unexpected emergency or hardship, you may be able to get assistance for bills and expenses that occur during this timeframe. Get help with housing issues, such as if you are facing a utility or heating disconnection, have a pending eviction, or are encountering landlord/tenant relations. You can even gain access to a food pantry or possibly have free food delivered to you. Another service that is available is a free weatherization program that may be able to help you lower your energy bills. All of these resources and programs are also administered by the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. Call the non-profit agency at (518) 587-3158 to learn more or to apply for help. More on programs from Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council.

Circles of Mercy

  • Partners with other local agencies, and together they offer applicants the following
  • Job finding skills, including resume reviews, access to computers, and counseling
  • Free income tax preparation and advice
  • Basic computer skills and training
  • Extensive referrals and advice on other New York and federal government programs, such as how to get mortgage help from banks such as Wells Fargo mortgage hardship programs.
  • Free bus passes and other transportation aid

Contact the Circles of Mercy agency at 518-462-0899.

Rent assistance and homeless prevention

Qualified individuals in Saratoga can assistance with rent payments, and access to funds to prevent evictions. It will also assist with utility bills and arrearage. The rapid rehousing and homeless prevention program was created from federal government funds. Contact the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York at (518) 587-5188.

Wellpring only helps victims of domestic violence. The programs range from safe shelter to rapid rehousing, rent assistance, loans, clothes, and more. They help clients gain stability from 480 Broadway LL20, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. If victim of violence and need rental help or housing, dial 518-583-0280.




Funds for heating, housing utility bills and other government programs

Saratoga County Department of Social Services ((518) 884-4146) offers many programs including the low income energy bill assistance, food stamps, child care subsidies, health care, and other aid.

Captain Youth and Family Services - CAPTAIN's Family Assistance program offers assistance, advice, and advocacy in accessing emergency funds for basic needs of people in the community. They also run the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Project which may be able to offer rent deposit payment assistance, rent arrears assistance, short term and medium term rent payment assistance, utility deposit assistance, utility and heating bill payment assistance, moving and storage expense assistance, and hotel/motel vouchers for people who need housing. Clifton Park NY. (518) 371-1185

Saratoga County Department of Social Services - The federal government Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) provides the low income, elderly, disabled and others with energy bill assistance. The aid is targeted at families with low incomes, and the program can issue regular and emergency grants and aid to help pay for heating and utility-related costs. They also may be able to provide information on heating oil buying networks. Learn more.

MACSC covers the Mechanicville area only. Programs range from VITA for doing income taxes to energy bill or rent help, clothing, food, and more. Dial 518-664-8322. They also offer health and wellness support, afterschool care, referrals, and other services. Address is 6 South Main Street, Mechanicville, NY 12118.

Capital Region Catholic Charities supports Saratoga County residents. A number of churches and organizations administer low income assistance programs. Call them for information on, or to apply for, housing, employment services, emergency utility and rental assistance and more. Other basic needs such as food, clothing, Christmas assistance and shelter may be administered too. Click here.

Food banks and assistance programs in Saratoga New York

Mechanicville Area Community Service Center - Helps people access social services and other aid. WIC applications, a free food pantry, food stamp applications, Christmas baskets, Thanksgiving baskets, meals, and Thanksgiving meals are available. Call (518) 664-8322

The Franklin Community Center - This non-profit organization has a free food pantry and groceries that are made available to help meet the emergency needs of low to moderate income families and individuals in the community. The center also distributes gently used clothing to those in need of help. (518) 587-9826





Salvation Army, of Saratoga Springs, (phone (518) 584-1640) runs a food pantry, offers holiday meals and gifts, and can refer people to other food programs such as SNAP. Learn more on the government food stamp or SNAP program.

The non-profit administers other services too. Among them include a program known as Family Housing and rent assistance/rapid rehousing may be offered. The agency is committed to assisting the low income and less fortunate with meeting their basic needs. More on Salvation Army in Saratoga assistance.

Several other food distribution centers, churches, and charities operate in the Ballston Spa and Saratoga County New York region. The locations distribute a variety of fresh and canned goods to the needy. Continue reading on food pantries in Saratoga New York.


By Jon McNamara

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