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Schenectady County assistance programs.

Low income families and those in an emergency can find government grants, churches, or charities that offer financial aid for paying rent or security deposits, grants to pay heating or utility bills, free food from pantries, and even free medical or dental care in Schenectady County. Find where and how to apply help. Or access free bus passes or gas vouchers, clothing for winter, job programs, and other social services.

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

Rent assistance

If you are facing an eviction or struggling with making your rent payments, the Homelessness Assistance and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) is an assistance program that was funded through the federal government stimulus fund, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The HPRP program  provides financial assistance, cash grants and other services to qualified Schenectady County families and individuals.

The assistance can stop an eviction, prevent you from becoming homeless, or if you are currently homeless the program can locate a new residence for you.




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 and provide ongoing rental and utility subsidies.

People also receive access to counselors from this rent 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 job finding skills

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.
  • 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
  • Also receive access to follow-up services for customer and employer, and the job candidate

Emergency assistance from SCAP

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 bills. 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. 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.

Food pantries

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

The Lighthouse Food Pantry provides personal care products, food and clothing to surrounding local communities. They run an emergency food pantry, providing food 4 times a year to clients. Other aid offered includes free dry and canned foods, fresh produce, and more. 2739 Hamburg Street, NY, Schenectady, NY, 12303, (518) 355-2817




Scotia-Glenville Food Pantry provides a 3 day supply of food to residents of the Scotia-Glenville school district only.

St. Luke's Food Pantry of St. Vincent De Paul Society is an emergency food pantry which operates by appointment only. Call for an appointment first. (518) 347-138

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

Our Lady of Fatima – 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. 1735 Alexander Road, Delanson, New York, 12053. (518) 895-2788

Bethesda House of Schenectady is located at 834 State Street

Financial assistance for bills and housing in Schenectady

Salvation Army. Emergency services and a food pantry is offered, which will supply canned food, groceries and items for individuals and families. Other aid includes Christmas assistance, clothing, emergency rental or utility assistance, and job training programs. Telephone 518-346-0222, or learn more assistance from Salvation Army New York.

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 a heating 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. Read more.

Inner City Ministry - Offers services to county residents, including the SICM Food Program. The main program may be the Housing Task Force, which runs a security deposit loan fund for families who are not on government or public assistance. 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 food assistance program, a household can use it at most six times per year. 930 Albany Street, Schenectady, New York 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), which is the main federal government funded energy assistance program. They also offer weatherization in partnership with the State Office for the Aging Outreach and referral activities. Call 518-388-4400, or read more on federal government public aid.

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 Schenectady rent help..

Schenectady County Department Of Senior And Long Term Care Services – Offers the Home Fuel Rebate Program of up to $100. Location is 107 Nott Terrace Suite 202. Phone (518) 382-8481.


By Jon McNamara

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