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Syracuse and Onondaga County Salvation Army assistance programs.

While short term financial aid is offered by the Syracuse New York Salvation Army, a focus is on providing longer term social services, job training, and education. The emergency assistance may be for paying rent or heating bills during the winter, or food or job costs. The goal is to provide self-sufficiency and help people avoid a crisis in the future. Any support provided is based on funding and available resources, including items such as donations of free Christmas toys or School items from the public in Onondaga County.

Salvation Army holiday help and food in Onondaga County

Christmas assistance - The Syracuse Salvation Army partners with hundreds of local community groups, churches, and thousands of volunteers to help low-income families and their children. Resources are usually available at the Oncenter during the so called Christmas Bureau Distribution Day. Qualified low-income families and their children can receive a free toy, book, winter coat and a stocking stuffer for each child in their family. In addition to those items, each qualified family receives a holiday food basket that contains a meal, such as a turkey and all the fixings for a holiday dinner plus extra food to help them feed their children or family. In general, hundreds of local Onondaga families receive help every year.

While some centers will offer soup kitchens and seasonal meals, the Syracuse Food Pantry assists individuals and families by providing them with enough free food to last up to three days. All aid is limited, and any applicants may be served at most once per month. However some exceptions can be made by the emergency coordinator if they deem it appropriate.

Not only can a few days of food be offered, but staff from the pantry can help clients with applying for federal government SNAP Food Stamps, WIC, and other Onondaga food assistance programs if they are found to be eligible. Assistance is also provided for obtaining items such as diapers, baby formula, and personal hygiene products. Most Corp centers and churches of The Salvation Army also offer food services from soup kitchens to help the hungry. 315.479.1157.





Help for rent, bills, and financial needs

Homeless and eviction prevention, as well as emergency rent help, provides assistance for people or low income families facing eviction or a housing crisis. The homeless prevention program includes short-term case management, counseling, low income housing locations and referrals for rent and housing related assistance, including deposits. The Salvation Army does its best to offer services to assist low income, unemployed and qualified individuals with obtaining and maintaining basic needs such as food and housing.  Clients are seen on a walk-in basis. Phone 315.479.1157.

During the winter, the Salvation Army in Onondaga County will try to help people keep their heat on. This is where grants for gas, electric, or heating bills may help. Or they refer low income families to state of New York LIHEAP or other financial aid programs. If needed, even find programs for free heating oil for seniors or the low income.

Homeless services provide low income families with flexible levels of service and assistance programs. The goal is to help people maintain permanent housing, pay the rent, and offer other support. For example, financial assistance is available for obtaining prescriptions, personal identification, bus tokens and other housing related needs that can’t be met by any other Syracuse programs or agencies. Call 315.479.1349.





Housing Assistance and Life Skills Education, or H.A.L.E., is a Salvation Army program that helps families who are employed at least part time, homeless, and non-disabled individuals. Any financial assistance available for Syracuse families and their related members is based on individual need and includes a housing or rental subsidy. This may even information section 8 housing in New York which the Salvation Army can provide advice on applying for.

Clients of HALE are also assigned to a social worker, and are provided with independent living skills training, credit repair, housing location assistance, public aid, job training, and linkage to community resources. 315.479.1307

The Salvation Army’s Women and Emergency Shelter resource offers services and assistance that is not found elsewhere in Syracuse or Onondaga County for that matter. The center provides temporary emergency housing and ongoing counseling services for homeless families and individuals. It supports single women, extended families, men with children, single parents, and older male children.

In addition to the short term housing, the program also offers comprehensive social work support services, self-sufficiency, crisis counseling and linkages to local non-profit community agencies. The Salvation Army in Onondaga County will also help single moms that are threatened with eviction. As there are a number of local financial aid resources too. Or find additional rental assistance programs for single mothers, all of which are applicable.

Employment, medical and day care help

Day care – There are a few quality day care centers located in the Syracuse area. The Salvation Army provides referral, advocacy, and support for parents and families, ongoing, comprehensive developmental assessment, Headstart, and more.

Child and Family Health Plus – If you need public health insurance, this program can assist low-income individuals and families who are in need of insurance and medical care. Advice and assistance is given with completing the application process for Child and Family Health Plus, Medicaid, and other care. Phone 315.479.1136.





Locations of Salvation Army centers

There are several thrift - family stores in Onondaga County as well as social services and food pantries. The Salvation Army has the sites below. They can offer financial aid, referrals, and other support from the sites.

  • 7453 Morgan Road, Liverpool, New York, call (315) 373-0670
  • 720 South Geddes Street, Syracuse, NY, main phone number (315) 478-0255
  • 677 South Salina Street, Syracuse, New York, (315) 479-1101
  • 2433 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, NY, (315) 445-0520
  • 749 South Warren Street, Syracuse, NY, (315) 479-1302
  • 1704 South Salina Street, Syracuse, dial (315) 472-0947 for intake
  • 350 Rich Street, Syracuse, New York, (315) 474-2931


By Jon McNamara

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