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Assistance programs in Schenectady County NY.

Find financial assistance and free stuff in Schenectady County. Low income families and those in an emergency can get government grant money for bills or housing. Also churches or charities offer financial aid for paying rent or security deposits. Or get grants to pay heating or utility bills, free food from pantries, and even free medical or dental care. Find how and were to get financial assistance near you in Schenectady County NY below.

Many low-income programs are offered in Schenectady and Rotterdam NY. Access free bus passes or gas vouchers, free clothes or personal stuff from churches, job programs, and other social services. Children can also be given free school supplies or Christmas toys during the fall and winter months.

Non-profit community action grant programs

The Schenectady Community Action Program has several social services and programs to help people facing short term hardships. There are also resources to get them financial assistance over the long term.

  • Rent assistance may be offered, as funding allows. If you are facing an eviction or struggling with making your monthly payments, the Homelessness Assistance and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is offered from time to time, based on government grants allocated. The HPRP program  provides financial assistance, cash grants and other services to qualified Schenectady County families as well as individuals.
    The assistance can stop an eviction, foreclosure or prevent you from becoming homeless. This can help both tenants and homeowners in Schenectady County. Or if you are currently homeless the program can locate a new residence for you, including a low-cost home with no waiting list.
  • The community action agency may be able to help you in several different ways. It can provide cash grants and financial assistance that can be used for paying back rent and unpaid utility bills. The money can also be used to pay for security deposits or pay for ongoing housing subsidies.
  • People also receive access to free counselors from this Schenectady Community Action Program. They can help people by mediating disputes between tenant and landlord and trying to find a solution to an eviction. The can help someone finding a new apartment or housing, if necessary. They can also help people with accessing other resources and services that may be provided by Legal Aid, such as free legal help in New York. Also applicants can receive ongoing case management.




  • Employment services and free job finding skills are a focus. If you are unemployed or looking for a better job, the Career Readiness program offered by the agency may be for you. Employment Specialists work closely with the person seeking employment and will matches the participant’s skills with employer needs in Schenectady County. Specifically, the services offered are extensive, wide ranging, individualized and intensive. The agency and its professional counselors offer workshops and training in the following areas.
    • Resume review, writing and cover letter preparation and advice
    • Receive free computer training, including typing, keyboarding, Introduction to Computers, Microsoft programs, and more advanced classes for interested participants.
    • Community Action also provides free personal stuff, often in partnership with nearby charities. As an example, locate free clothes from churches near you.
    • Counseling on assertiveness, stress management and self-esteem
    • Budgeting and financial advice
    • Learn job search strategies, interviewing techniques, and networking skills
    • Get self/skills assessments and goal setting
    • Individual employment counseling and ongoing support during the job search. There are also government job programs in New York.
    • Also receive access to follow-up services for customer and employer, and the job candidate
  • Free internet may be arranged for student or employees. The community action agency has information on a wide variety of national and local resources that students, job seekers, and other low income families can use to get online. As free internet service is critical to employment and education. Come cable or telephone companies also offer it. More on free internet for the low income.
  • Emergency financial assistance for paying bills from SCAP includes free grant, loans, or direct financial aid. If you are in an emergency situation, SCAP counselors can provide crisis intervention services to families and clients who are unable to meet their basic needs or need some short term help for paying for basic needs. The program is known as the Community Crisis Network, and it is a collaborative program of SICM, Bethesda House, Catholic Charities of Schenectady, and the local Jewish community.
  • In addition, area charities and congregations provide support for an emergency fund which is used when community resources are unavailable and customers lack shelter, food, shelter, prescription medicine and other basic needs. A major focus is on seniors as well as single moms in Schenectady NY. Also the Community Crisis Network will work with clients to connect existing resources to the individuals and people that need them most - and the agency is also responsible for improving collaborations and identifying gaps in services and resources.





Call the Schenectady Community Action Program at (518) 374-9181 to learn more or to apply for help. Other services and information is available as well. Click here for emergency help from Schenectady Community Action Program.

Financial assistance for bills and housing in Schenectady

Salvation Army. Emergency social services and a free food pantry is offered, which will supply canned food, groceries and household items for individuals and families. Other financial as well as free material aid includes Christmas assistance including toys. There is also free clothes for kids or adults, emergency rental or utility bill assistance as well as job training programs. Students can get free backpacks and supplies supplies too. The working poor and vulnerable in Schenectady County can get help from the Salvation Army.

While very limited, some emergency cash assistance may be offered by the Salvation Army. When available, at most the agency will make a partial payment towards your rent or say an electric bill. This will also come with a strict application process.

However the focus is always on providing Schenectady low income families with basic needs and case management, including free school supplies for students or Christmas gifts or toys. The address is 222 Lafayette St, Schenectady, NY 12305, or telephone 518-346-0222, or read more on Schenectady County Salvation Army.

Note there are other nearby Salvation Army thrift stores and social services if needed as well. Learn more assistance from Salvation Army New York. As the charity has multiple sites in upstate and central NY.

Inner City Ministry - Offers services to county residents, including the SICM Food Program. The main program is also the Housing Task Force, which runs a security deposit loan fund for families who are not on government or public assistance, such as TANF cash aid or SNAP food stamps.

The loan is administered by the Human Rights Commission, and the task force continues to work on home-ownership and neighborhood initiatives in the community. For the free food or grocery assistance program, a household can use it at most six times per year. The location is 837 Albany St, Schenectady, NY 12307, dial (518) 374-2683

Schenectady County Department Of Social Services (DSS) – Offers a variety of government and public assistance programs. Examples include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) as well as weatherization, which is the main federal government funded low-income energy assistance program. They also offer weatherization in partnership with the State Office for the Aging Outreach and referral activities.

DSS can also help people apply for benefits including SNAP food stamps, free health insurance from Medcaid or elderly home care. Unemployment and personal hardship grants are offered too. Call 518-388-4400, or read more on federal government public aid in NY.

Rent help and housing assistance - Across both Schenectady and the capital area are agencies that can refer qualified low income or underemployed families to grants or loans for paying rent expenses. Other support may be funds for security deposits if the applicant has a source of income, supportive housing for the disabled or single parents, and other aid. More on Schenectady County rent help..

Schenectady County Department Of Senior And Long Term Care Services – Offers the Home Fuel Rebate Program of up to $100. There are also free Meals on Wheels home delivery, Medicare benefits, and low-income subsidized housing or apartments for seniors. Location is 107 Nott Terrace Suite 202. Phone (518) 382-8481.







Free food pantries, meals, and government aid for hunger prevention

The list below is only a sampling. There are many other USDA government programs, places for free food or hot meals, charities, and hunger prevention agencies. Find a food pantry near you that is open.

SICM is located at 839 Albany Street, Schenectady, New York, 12307. Free groceries are offered from this agency.

The Lighthouse Food Pantry provides personal care products, food and clothing to surrounding local communities. There are free items for the low-income, working poor and disabled or elderly among others. They run an emergency food pantry, giving away food 4 times a year to clients. Other aid offered includes free dry and canned groceries, fresh produce, Ensure for seniors and more. The charity is at 4780 Duanesburg Rd (Route 7). Dial (518) 355-2277

St. Vincent De Paul Society St. Paul the Apostle Church (address is 2777 Albany Street, Schenectady, NY 12304) is an emergency food pantry which operates by appointment only. Get free groceries or fresh perishable items. Call for an appointment first. Dial (​518-346-6189.

Refreshing Springs Church – Offers Food/Clothing/Furniture Distribution site. The location is 327 Georgetta Dix Plaza, Schenectady, New York, 12307. Call (518) 346-5303

Bellevue Reformed Church – Runs a food pantry and distributes personal care items. Holiday support also includes Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and food, with support for seniors and the homebound too. The address is 2000 Broadway, Schenectady, NY 12306. Dial (518-393-1341.


By Jon McNamara














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