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Help for single moms in New York

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If you’re a single mom in New York struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

We also put together resources specifically for:

Statistically, families benefit most with cash assistance (vs through benefits programs).1 Here is our guide to single mom grant programs, including our own.

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2024 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,380 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in New York

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these resources can help:

Temporary Cash Assistance in New York

Family Assistance (FA) — New York’s name for their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children that have court-ordered custody of a child placed in their home, whether they are parents or a relative.

The amount paid out is based on household income, family size, and county. For example, the maximum benefit for a household of three in Albany County, N.Y., is $698 per month.  

FA is available for a lifetime total of up to 60 months for adults. However, it can be extended if an adult family member is unable to work because they are physically or mentally impaired or a victim of domestic violence.


  • U.S. citizen, Native American, U.S. national, or qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent New York resident
  • Have dependent children under 18 or 19 attending high school or vocational school
  • Women with medical proof of pregnancy
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Gross income must be less than 185% of FPL
  • Family assets of $2,000 or less ($3,000 if the household has a family member 60 or over)
  • Child must be living in the home maintained by a parent or a relative who is a blood relative of the child
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must attend school, and parents/caretakers must attend school conferences

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in New York: 

New York also offers Emergency Assistance as part of its TANF program. You can receive emergency funds even if you are not eligible for FA to help with:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Utility payments
  • Domestic violence shelter costs
  • Temporary housing (hotel)

Call your local DSS office to apply.

Single moms in New York can also visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in New York

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help: 

Rental assistance in New York

There are multiple programs in New York to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent.


Vouchers and housing are based on household income and family size. You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website

How to get help: 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

The New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) provides rental assistance for low- to moderate-income residents to reduce homelessness and ensure proper access to gas and electricity.

This program does not apply to Hempstead, Islip, or Oyster Bay. Those areas have their own local rent assistance programs.

ERAP-approved households may get:

  • Up to 12 months of payments if you are behind on rent, paid directly to your landlord
  • Up to three months of financial help if your rental payment exceeds 30% of your gross monthly income
  • Up to 12 months of back payments for electric or gas utilities


Rental help will be based on your income and level of need. To qualify:

  • Household gross income cannot exceed 80% of AMI for where you live 
  • On or after Mar. 13, 2020, you or a household member received unemployment benefits or lost income or had financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • You have missed rental payments on or after Mar. 13, 2020
  • You are at risk of homelessness

How to get help:

As of Jan. 20, 2023, this program has stopped accepting new applications. 

Mortgage assistance in New York 

If you need help buying a home (or staying in your home) in New York, these programs can help: 

HUD Homeowner Assistance Programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a list of resources for homeowner assistance offered by New York state, region, city, and county.


Each program has its own requirements. Select the program for your region to learn more.

How to get help:

New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund

The New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund is a federal program that can help you if you are facing a default on your mortgage, foreclosure, or had to leave your home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Homeowners with income equal to or less than 100% of AMI
  • Must own the property and live there as your primary residence
  • Behind on monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, water bills, sewage bills, homeowner association payments, maintenance fees, etc.
  • In a forbearance plan or missed the chance to enter one, but are considered delinquent on your mortgage

How to get help:

The application period closed on February 18, 2023. You can sign up for the waiting list for help.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Section 504 Home Repair Program

The Section 504 Home Repair Program provides affordable loans and grants to eligible homeowners with very low incomes. This program helps homeowners get necessary repairs or upgrades to their homes for improved health and safety. 

The maximum loan is $40,000 with a 20-year term and a 1% fixed interest rate. The maximum grant is $10,000. If eligible for both, you can combine the loan and grant for up to $50,000 in home repair assistance. Grants require repayment if you sell the property less than three years after receipt.


  • Own the home and live in the house as your primary residence
  • Unable to get an affordable loan somewhere else
  • Not exceed the very low limit household income for your area

For grants only, you must be at least 62 years old and unable to repay a repair loan. Loans are open to all ages.

How to get help:

  • Apply year-round at your local USDA state office
  • Call 315-477-6400, extension 4 to speak with a USDA home loan specialist

State of New York Mortgage Agency

Through multiple programs, the State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) provides low-interest loans, down payment assistance, homebuyer education, and other resources to help New York residents become homeowners:

Achieving the Dream

  • Lowest interest rate program SONYMA offers
  • 30-year fixed mortgage
  • Down payments as low as 3%
  • Down payment assistance 
  • May use unlimited outside grants or subsidies

Low Interest Rate Program:

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage
  • Minimum 3% down payment
  • Down payment assistance
  • No prepayment penalties

Check the current interest rates for SONYMA programs.


  • Be a first-time buyer (or an eligible veteran or purchasing a home in a target area)
  • Have good credit (670 to 739 credit score), steady employment, and be able to pay your mortgage monthly as well as any existing debts
  • Live in the home as your primary residence
  • Be prepared to pay either 1% or 3% of the purchase price with verified cash
  • Meet income limits and purchase price limits based on your household size for the Achieving the Dream or Low Interest Rate Program

How to get help:

Homeless assistance in New York 

Are you homeless or facing homelessness in New York? Here are some helpful resources:

Housing and Support Services

New York state’s Housing and Support Services (HSS) falls under the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NYOTDA). It administers multiple programs that support homeless people, those at risk of homelessness, and low-income families in New York. 

Programs include:

  • Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP)
  • New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA)
  • Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP)
  • Operational Support for AIDS Housing Program (OSAH)
  • Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative (ESSHI)


  • Homeless, facing homelessness, or have a low income and need help to maintain stable housing
  • Each program may have individual eligibility requirements

How to get help:

More housing help: 

Transportation help for low-income families in New York

New York offers multiple transportation resources for single moms and low-income families:

Free and low-cost transportation

You may be eligible for these free and low-cost transportation options if you meet the eligibility criteria:

Ride United 

Ride United Transportation Access program provides free rides to help people in need access essential medical services, complete education programs, get to job interviews, and more. 

Through Ride United Last Mile Delivery program, people in need who don’t have transportation access can have charitable food, essential items, pet food and supplies delivered. 

While Ride United notes that free transportation and deliveries of food and essential items are not available in every community, the organization said that 211 specialists will connect you with the best available services to meet your family’s needs. 


  • Must be unable to pay for other transportation  

How to get help:

  • Find your local 211 office here
  • Call 211 

Free Charity Cars 

Free Charity Cars awards free vehicles to selected applicants in all 50 states. The nonprofit charity group has been awarding free vehicles to low-income American families since 1996 and has gifted more than 9,000 cars. The charity group notes that they do not have an inventory of vehicles readily available as they award cars as soon as they get them, so there can be extensive waiting periods for those selected for the free car program. 


  • Be a resident of the U.S.
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Have a genuine need for a vehicle 
  • Have access to a Computer and Internet Service
  • Sign up for an online account 
  • Complete an online application for a vehicle
  • Have the financial means to pay for the fees, including the tag, title, emissions, insurance, etc.
  • Take financial responsibility for maintaining insurance and upkeep on the vehicle if awarded 

How to get help:

Fair Fares NYC MetroCard

Fair Fares NYC helps low-income New Yorkers get discounted rates for transportation costs. By using a Fair Fares NYC MetroCard, eligible New York City residents receive a 50% discount on subway and bus fares. 


  • Must reside in NYC
  • Income at or below the FPL for household size
  • Not eligible for other discounted transportation from the MTA or the city 

How to get help:

  • Call 311
  • Check your eligibility online

If you're ready to buy a car, but you have low or no credit, Auto Loan Express is a quality lender:

  • Better Business Bureau rating of A+
  • In business since 1999
  • For new or used cars
  • Auto loans and refi for buyers who have low or no credit, or who have gone through bankruptcy or had a vehicle repossessed
  • Pre-approval within 30 seconds

24 hours to a car loan with Auto Loan Express >>

Electric bill assistance in New York

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in New York, check out the following programs:

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) in New York

HEAP helps qualifying households with home heating and cooling costs, paid directly to utility companies like Con Edison. The agency does not assist with water, sewer, or telephone services. 

There are two benefits to help you pay energy bills:

  • Regular HEAP — Pays the energy vendor directly to assist with regular heating costs
  • Emergency HEAP — Emergency funds for situations where a resident is under threat of having no heat in the winter

The Regular HEAP benefit is available once per household during the program year, which started November 1, 2022 and continues until funding is gone. Emergency HEAP benefit funding started January 3, 2023. In some cases, you may be eligible for both benefits.

Regular HEAP Benefit Amounts for 2023-2024:

Minimum Regular HEAP BenefitHousehold situation
$21Government subsidized housing or group home with heating costs included in the rent
$45 or $50Households with heating costs as part of the rent
$900 plus add-onsHomes that use oil, kerosene, or propane as the primary heat source and pay the vendor directly
$635 plus add-onsHomes that use wood, wood pellets, coal, corn or other fuel as the primary heat source that is delivered and pay the vendor directly
$400 plus add-onsHomes that use electricity or natural gas as the main heat source and pay the vendor directly

For households that pay vendors directly for heat, add-ons refer to an additional $41 if the household is considered Tier 1. Tier 1 households are at or below 130% of the FPL or receive benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance (TA), or Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


  • U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Resident of New York
  • Not exceed the monthly income limits for your household size — $4,608 for a family of three
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills

To be eligible for Emergency HEAP, you must be:

  • At risk of having no heat or currently without heat
  • Out of fuel or have low fuel
  • At or below the monthly income limits
  • Receiving SNAP, TA, or SSI
  • Responsible for paying the heating bill
  • Have less than $2,000 and no household members are 60 or older
  • Have less than $3,000 and a household member who is 60 or older

Emergency HEAP Benefit Amount 2023-2024:

Emergency TypeAmount
Heat-related (electric service required for heat)$185
Natural gas heat only$400
Natural gas and heat-related$585
Electric heat and heat-related$585
Fuel: oil, kerosene, and propane$900
Fuel: wood, wood pellets, coal, corn, etc.$635

How to get help:

  • Contact your local HEAP office
  • Call the OTDA hotline for questions about HEAP at 1-800-342-3009
  • Apply for energy bill assistance with myBenefits

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Administered by NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the WAP helps low-income families lower their monthly energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Types of assistance include:

  • Sealing a home with weather stripping, caulk or other sealant
  • Replacing or repairing inefficient or unsafe heating units 
  • Improving lighting, hot water tank and pipe insulation
  • Replacing refrigerators with Energy Star models
  • Insulating a single family home for energy efficiency


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Resident of state of New York
  • Must be a renter or homeowner
  • Must have household income that is at or below HEAP monthly income guidelines 
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, SNAP or HEAP

How to get help:

  • Call 518-474-5700 fo general questions about WAP
  • Applications are not available online, so you have to visit your county’s weatherization provider.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in New York

These resources can help you get access to medical and dental treatment for you and your children:

New York free clinics

New York free clinics offer medical help to people who are uninsured or having trouble paying for health care. Some partner with top schools like New York University to have medical students on staff, guided by senior doctors.


All patients are accepted.

How to get help:

  • Dial 2-1-1 in New York state to find the nearest free clinic
  • Dial 3-1-1 in New York City to find your the closest free clinic

New York Medicaid

Medicaid provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In New York, most Medicaid recipients are enrolled in a New York State Medicaid Managed Care Plan (MMCP), which includes:

  • Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) — Covers medical services like doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health care, lab services, rehab, inpatient hospital services, and transportation for medical needs
  • Dental and Orthodontic Services — Covers all dental services for children and adults
  • Hearing Services — Covers hearing tests, hearing aids services and hearing products
  • Vision Services — Covers eye care and low vision services


  • Resident of New York
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements — $30,630/year for a family of three

Plus, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant
  • Caretaker for a child 18 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

New York Child Health Plus (CHIP)

Child Health Plus, the name of New York State’s Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides free or low-cost health insurance for children who don’t qualify for Medicaid coverage based on household income.

Premiums range from $0 to $185 a month, depending on family size and income.

There are no co-payments for services under Child Health Plus.


  • 18 or younger
  • Resident of New York
  • Not qualified for Medicaid
  • Have no other health insurance
  • Meet income eligibility requirements

How to get help:

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS) if you are struggling.


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced-cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in New York by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

New York State of Health Marketplace

The New York State of Health marketplace allows individuals and families to shop for affordable health insurance coverage. To compare plans and estimate your monthly cost, you must create a free account.

You can choose an insurance plan during open enrollment, which generally runs between November and January each year. You can also apply during a special enrollment period such as when you lose coverage due to job loss or if you’ve just moved to a new state.


  • New York resident
  • U.S. citizen, national or lawfully present immigrant* 
  • Not currently incarcerated 
  • Not seeking coverage for nursing home care or care provided in a Residential Treatment Facility for Children and Youth, Developmental Center or Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled

*There may be different immigration rules for those eligible for Child Health Plus, NYS Medicaid, or the Essential Plan based on your income

How to get help:

  • Create an account in the marketplace
  • Call the NY State of Health Marketplace Help Line at 1-855-355-5777

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in New York

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the state:

New York Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card or credit card to purchase food in retail food stores, including:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 

Some stores in New York are participating in a SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, allowing you to order groceries online using your SNAP benefits. 


You must be a New York resident and meet one of the following conditions:

  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001, OR 
  • Under $3,001 and share your household with one of the following:
    • Person or persons age 60 and over
    • Person with a disability (child, spouse, parent, yourself
  • Qualify under maximum income limits — $29,939/year for a family of three

How to get help: 

  • Apply at myBenefits
  • website or call 850-300-4323.  

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a nutrition program that provides free baby formula and nutritional food items to low-income mothers and their babies. 


  • Low-income, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
  • Low-income sole provider parent of children under age of five who are at nutritional risk and who are below 185% of FPL
  • If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC 

How to get help: 

Call your local WIC office or dial 1-800-522-5006 and say you want to apply for WIC. 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. 

An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. Schools with at least 80% of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the federal income eligibility guidelines.

How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll. If you receive TA and/or SNAP, no enrollment is necessary. Simply submit a certification letter to the school from your local DSS. 

New York’s Summer Food Service Program

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers the Summer Food Service Program. During summer break, this program serves nutritious meals at no cost to children. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, summer camps, parks, and other public spaces. 


These are the current income guidelines for the Summer Food Service Program: 

How to get help: 

New York food banks

Food banks in New York provide meals for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table. 


Each food bank sets its own eligibility and proof of need requirements. 

How to get help: 

To find a food bank near you and for additional information, visit the NYS OTDA website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in New York

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in New York:

New York Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

  • Visit MySchools to find a Head Start program in New York City
  • Locate a Head Start program in other parts of the state
  • Call 866-763-6481

New York State Child Care Assistance Program

The New York State Child Care Assistance Program (NYS CCAP) provides funds to pay for child care costs from licensed providers. You can even pay for child care with providers who are registered or enrolled as a legally exempt provider — including friends or relatives.


  • Must need child care to go to work, look for work, or attend job training
  • Cannot make more than 300% of the poverty level for their family size — $69,090/year for a family of three

How to get help: 

organization serving your borough (listed above) for more information.

More child care help

Education help for single moms in New York

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in New York

If you are at least 19 years old in New York, you can take the GED test. If you are 16, 17, or 18, you must get approval from the New York State Education Department (NYSED). 

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning – 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts – 150 minutes
  • Social studies – 70 minutes
  • Science – 90 minutes

In New York, you can only take the test in person. There are no online tests at this time. You may take the test for free, as it is paid for by the state. The GED is available in English and Spanish. Upon passing, you will be awarded a High School Equivalency Diploma.

To get started, create a free account with GED.

Grants and scholarships in New York

The Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in New York. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, create a student profile on the HESC website

Individual schools also offer need-based and academic scholarships for their students. If you’ve been accepted to a higher education institution, contact their office of financial aid to learn how to apply. 

Jeremiah Program

Jeremiah Program operates in several states including out of Baltimore to offer grants and other support to low-income single mothers committed to earning a college degree.

Student loan forgiveness in New York

The HESC has several student loan forgiveness programs for New York residents. The federal government also offers multiple programs. For more information on these programs, visit the HESC website.

Employment help for single moms in New York

Workforce programs in New York provide training and assist with employment:

Department of Labor Career Centers

The New York State Department of Labor provides a career hub online that connects job seekers with employment resources throughout the state. The website offers resources like:

  • One-on-one career guidance
  • Group workshops
  • Self- service interviewing an resume tools
  • Job leads that match your qualifications

How to get help: 

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in New York

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout New York that offer support to single moms:

Feeding America

Feeding America is an excellent resource to get connected to your local food bank or food program. Plus, your local food bank can help you apply for helpful programs like SNAP, which provides money each month to buy groceries for your family.

How to get help: 

Visit the Feeding America website to find your local food bank or learn about food assistance programs.

The Salvation Army of New York

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist with:

  • Food, shelter, and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of New York

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York assists with:

  • Children’s services such as adoption, child care, foster care, and counseling
  • Family support services like financial help, maternity care, and job readiness/placement
  • Supporting people with disabilities with services that help with mental illness, substance abuse, hearing and visual impairment, and special education
  • Food support, such as access to food pantries, soup kitchens, and applying for SNAP benefits
  • Housing support to help people avoid eviction, offer emergency shelter, find affordable housing (permanent and temporary), and reach self-sufficiency
  • Refugee and immigrant support such as legal issues, citizenship, permission to work in the US, and job opportunities and placement

How to get help: 

United Way of New York

The United Way of New York connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

New York City, New York

The following resources serve residents of New York City, N.Y.: 

Emergency assistance in New York City

If you need emergency cash for expenses like utilities, rent, and groceries, here are some helpful resources to consider in New York City: 

NYC’s Human Resources Administration

Human Resources Administration (HRA) offers more than 30 programs that provide essential benefits to those in need, such as emergency cash assistance, food, rental vouchers, free ID cards and Medicaid assistance. 

HRA also covers the cost of child care for eligible families. Parents who are in school or employed may qualify for the childcare program. If eligible for childcare assistance, HRA can help parents find a provider that is best for their household. You can use HRA’s online childcare search tool to find a provider. 

If you are in school, employed or participating in a work activity and would like HRA to help pay for child care, you and the provider need to complete and submit the required forms. 


Eligibility for all programs is determined on a case-by-case basis. Factors that may be considered include:

  • Household income 
  • Household size 
  • The reason for the need, which can include losing a job 
  • Available savings and resources
  • Affordability of housing
  • A plan to pay the expense moving forward
  • Citizenship or immigration status

How to get help:

Housing help in New York City

If you need housing help in Cleveland, here are some options:


In New York City, CityFHEPS helps residents at risk of losing housing by providing financial assistance. They also help New Yorkers find affordable housing. 

CityFHEPS offers rent assistance for an entire apartment, a single room in an apartment, or a single room unit in any of the five boroughs of New York City. Rental payments are made directly to landlords or property owners.

Payment amounts vary based on the number of bedrooms and whether utilities are included. For example, the maximum amount you can get for a one-bedroom unit with all utilities included is $2,218.


If you are a family with children eligible for New York Cash Assistance, you must be receiving those benefits before applying for CityFHEPS.

You must also meet one of the following conditions:

  • Household member is a veteran or service member and facing eviction
  • Household member receives Pathway Home benefits and would be eligible for CityFHEPS if they were in a Department of Homelessness Services (DHS) or Human Resources Administration (HRA) shelter
  • Household was referred by a CityFHEPS qualifying program through DSS and it was determined this benefit is needed to avoid entering a shelter
  • Evicted in the past year or at risk of being evicted and household has a member who has lived in a DHS shelter, has an active Adult Protective Services (APS) case (or is in a community guardianship program), or lives in a rent-controlled apartment and needs the benefit to remain there

CityFHEPS is renewable for up to four years after initial acceptance, for a total lifetime benefit of up to five years. If someone aged 60 or over receives federal disability payments in your home, the five-year limit does not apply.

How to get help:

You must apply in person at your local Homebase office.

The Homelessness Prevention Administration 

The Homelessness Prevention Administration (HPA) aims to keep New Yorkers in their homes. HPA partners with the Department of Homeless Services, the NYC Housing Authority and multiple other organizations and NYC agencies to prevent homelessness. 

HRA helps families in need maintain stable affordable housing in their communities. HPA also provides emergency cash assistance on a case-by-case basis to help pay for things such as back rent to avoid eviction, food, and money towards burial costs for loved ones. 


  • Homeless or facing homelessness 

How to get help:

  • 718-557-1399
  • Dial 311

Housing Connect

Housing Connect helps families find and apply for affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in each of NYC’s five boroughs. Housing Connect works as a lottery system for eligible applicants.  There are rental and homeownership properties with regulated rentals so the price of rent stays affordable. Condos and houses have restricted prices to help keep costs low. 


You can find a list of open lotteries online. 

How to get help:

  • Call 212-863-5610

Coalition for the Homeless

In New York City, the Coalition for the Homeless has compiled an online resource guide that includes emergency contacts for food, shelter, and other necessary services. 


Any person who is homeless or at risk of homelessness is eligible for help.

How to get help:

  • Check out the resource guide for your borough
  • Call 888-358-2384 if you need help with access to a shelter

Medical and dental care help in New York City

If you are looking for help with medical or dental care in New York City, check out these resources:

Free Clinics for the Uninsured

The Institute for Family Health operates two free clinics, one in the Bronx and another in Manhattan. The clinics provide numerous healthcare services to uninsured adults at no cost. The Free Clinics are open Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon, except holidays. The clinics do not see children. Services offered for adults include: 

  • Primary care
  • Women’s health and gynecology 
  • Disease prevention and screening 
  • Vaccinations
  • Health education
  • Counseling
  • Social work services such as help obtaining public assistance, disability assistance, housing, food stamps and other aid

The Free Clinics are operated by students from New York University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Students are supervised at all times by senior Institute of Family Health physicians. 


  • Appointments are required 
  • Must be 18 or older

How to get help:

  • Call  347-854-0170


NYC Care is a healthcare access program that helps New Yorkers find low-cost and no-cost medical and dental services. NYC Care members can receive services at any NYC Health + Hospitals patient care location in the five boroughs, including 11 hospitals and dozens of community-based health centers.

Services provided by NYC Care include: 

  • Access to affordable health care at NYC Health + Hospitals patient care locations 
  • Choice of Primary Care Provider
  • Preventive care such as vaccinations, routine screenings and mammograms
  • Mental health support and substance abuse services
  • Access to low-cost prescription medications 
  • Support from nurses, medical assistants, social workers, pharmacists, and nutritionists 

There are no membership fees, monthly fees, or premiums, and the cost to receive health care is based on family size and income. A sliding fee scale can be found online. 


  • Must live in one of the NYC’s five boroughs 
  • Must not qualify for any health insurance plan available in the state of New York
  • Must be unable to afford health insurance  

How to get help:

  • Call 646-692-2273 

Zucker School of Medicine's Free Clinic 

The Zucker School of Medicine's Free Clinic offers free medical services on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m. at 95-25 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park in New York City. The clinic is for adults only and is operated by Zucker medical students who are supervised by faculty physicians. The Free Clinic provides primary care services to uninsured patients at no cost, including annual physicals, sick visits, vaccines, blood work, electrocardiograms and more. 


  • Appointments are required 
  •  Must be 18 or older

How to get help:

Food assistance in New York City

Here is a food resource local to New York City:

Community Food Connection 

Community Food Connection (CFC) helps provide food assistance by connecting those in need to quick food access such as groceries from a food pantry or a cooked meal from a community kitchen. There are dozens of locations all over the five boroughs.


  • Everyone is eligible for food assistance, regardless of immigration status or income 

How to get help:

  • Call 311
  • Use the Food Help NYC map to find your closest food pantry and community kitchen

Food Bank for New York City 

The Food Bank for New York City helps provide food assistance through numerous community kitchens and pantries. The Food Bank also holds multiple mobile pantries and pop-up distribution events per month. Families in need of food can check the online map and a list of all the places to receive free food. 

The Food Bank also offers a Campus Pantry program that works with schools and universities across the five boroughs to set up on-site food pantries for students and their families. Each Campus Pantry location provides families with healthy food items from nonperishables to fresh produce. While the Food Bank supplies the items, each school staffs its pantry and creates distribution hours. 


  • Everyone is eligible for food assistance, regardless of immigration status or how much money families have

How to get help:

  • Call 212-566-7855
  • Fill out the online form 

Free Summer Meals 

The Free Summer Meals program provides free breakfast and lunch to children at numerous locations such as schools, parks, pools, libraries and food trucks in all five boroughs. 


  • Children under age 18
  • People with disabilities, regardless of age, who participate in special education programs
  • Anyone who gets SNAP benefits is automatically eligible 

How to get help:

  • Call 311
  • Text NYC Food to 304-304

Grand Central Food Program

The Grand Central Food Program (GCFP) is a mobile soup kitchen that delivers roughly 1,000 meals, which consist of hot stew, bread, fresh fruit, and juice or milk, to homeless and hungry New Yorkers. 

The mobile soup kitchen makes 22 stops around the city. During the winter, GCFP hands out coats, hats, gloves and blankets in addition to the meal. GCFP operates every night of the year, and the route starts at 5:30 p.m. from St. Bart’s located on 51st Street. 

How to get help:

Child care help in New York City

Check out these resources if you need help paying for child care in NYC:

Child care vouchers

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) provides vouchers to help qualifying families pay for child care.


  • Work 10+ hours each week
  • Enrolled in an education or vocational program
  • Actively seeking work
  • Reside in temporary housing
  • You need to attend services due to domestic violence
  • Have an income that falls below 300% of FPL

How to get help:

Call ACS at 212-835-7610.

Promise NYC

Promise NYC launched in January 2023 and provides money for child care paid directly to the provider to help undocumented low-income families in need. This program will run as long as it has funding but is currently being offered until June 30, 2023. 

NYC ACS is partnering with four organizations to administer the program:


  • Children between 6 months and 13 years old 
  • Live in New York City
  • Current immigration status makes them ineligible for other federal child care assistance programs
  • Live in a home with an income below 300% of FPL for household size

How to get help: 

Contact the partner organization serving your borough (listed above) for more information.

Education help in New York City

Here are some education resources in NYC:

The Excelsior Scholarship

The state of New York’s Excelsior Scholarship allows eligible students to earn a free two- or four-year college degree at any City University of New York (CUNY) or State University of New York (SUNY) college. In addition to the free tuition, the Excelsior Scholarship covers any remaining gap in tuition expenses, after other federal and state grants and scholarships are applied, up to $5,500. 


  • Must be a resident of New York and have resided in the state for 12 continuous months 
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Household income of under $125,000 
  • Must be pursuing an undergraduate degree at a SUNY or CUNY college
  • Must take at least 12 credits per term and complete at least 30 credits yearly 
  • Must not be in default on state or federal student loan programs 
  • Must reside in the state for the length of time the award was received

How to get help:

The New York Public Library 

The New York Public Library (NYPL) offers numerous free programs for both children and adults. Through the NYPL’s After School free drop-in program, kids ages 6 through 12 can get homework help from a tutor and partake in writing and enrichment activities. 

Some branches offer snacks to children during the After School program, which takes place at roughly 50 NYPL branches across the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island after regular school hours Monday through Thursday, during the school year. 

The NYPL also offers numerous free programs for adults, including English and technology classes, career services, writing and activity groups and workshops. 

How to get help:

NYC Public Schools Adult Education 

NYC Public Schools offer several Adult Education programs that provide free classes for eligible students who have not earned a U.S. high school diploma or equivalency. Adult Education programs are offered Monday through Saturday at more than 175 sites across all five boroughs. 

The programs offered include: 

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • High School Equivalency Preparation (HSE)
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Qualification for the Adult Learner Program scholarships:

  • Must be 21 or older
  • Must not have a U.S. High School diploma or equivalency 

How to get help:

Employment help in New York City

Check out these employment resources in New York City:

Career Services

HRA's Career Services offers three programs to New Yorkers who are receiving Cash Assistance. The programs help people increase their job skills and build a career that will lead to success and financial security. 

HRA's Career Services will help you find opportunities that match your skills, needs, and career goals. The three programs offered include: 

  • CareerCompass: Helps adults assess their skills and experience and then assists with finding employment, job training and education programs as well as internship and community service opportunities
  • YouthPathways: Works with young adults ages 18 to 24 to provides career, education, and training services and helps find programs that match applicants’ skills, including internships and community service
  • CareerAdvance: Offers career, education, and training services for people in specific industries 


  • Must have an active Cash Assistance case

How to get help:

  • Call 212-331-4640

Business Link: JTP POP Program 

Through the program, New Yorkers selected will have a full-time job while they look for a permanent job. The NYC Parks Department is hiring for outdoor maintenance positions, which are 40 hours per week and pay $15.45 per hour. The job duties include: sweeping, raking, picking up litter, and emptying trash receptacles. 

The job is five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with four of those days during the week and one day a week on the weekend. One of the shifts is a paid day to look for a permanent job 


  • Must have an active Cash Assistance case
  • Must be the head of household  
  • Must be unemployed

How to get help:

  • Call 718-262-3400
  • Email [email protected] 
  • Visit 123 William Street, 6th Floor in New York City 

Workforce1 Career Centers 

Workforce1 Career Centers offer free professional employment and training services that can help people find a job or develop their career.

Services include:

  • Help to find a job 
  • Information about job fairs and recruitment events
  • Financial counseling
  • Job readiness classes, such as creating or updating a resume, mock interviews, resources to help pay for job training and career advancement coaching 
  • Tips to increase pay and benefits 


  • Open to all NYC residents 

How to get help:


HOPE aims to assist New Yorkers who are looking for jobs by offering training, employment opportunities and career support. HOPE offers numerous services, and a list of current programs can be found online. No diploma or high school equivalency is required to be eligible for the programs. 


  • Must participate in a full-time program and work full-time
  • Must be at least 18 
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Some programs may have additional eligibility requirements 

How to get help:

  • Learn more about HOPE programs
    • Virtual: Every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 p.m.
    • In-Person: Every Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Brooklyn and Bronx locations 

Charity organizations in New York City

There are several charitable organizations throughout NYC that offer support to single moms:
Robin Hood 

Robin Hood partners with more than 250 nonprofits to connect New Yorkers in need with food, housing, education, legal services, workforce development, and more across all five boroughs. Qualifications vary depending on the individual program and the assistance needed. 

How to get help: 

Women In Need (Win)

Win helps mothers and children obtain safe housing. Win offers multiple services to help New Yorkers experiencing homelessness in addition to operating 14 shelters in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.  

After arriving at a Win shelter, each family receives a kit that includes necessities for setting up their units, such as new sheets and towels, pots, pans, dishes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper. Win also has 96 supportive housing units where people can live in their apartments and pay a reduced rent of  30% of their income. 


  • Must be referred from the shelter system and have one or a combination of the following needs: mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence or aged out of foster care

How to get help: 

Moms for Moms

Moms for Moms offers free postpartum and baby products to single mothers who are living in unsafe situations. Moms for Moms provides two care packages per person. One of the packages is a postpartum recovery care kit for the mom and the other is a newborn baby bundle containing items for infants to 6 months old babies. Some of the items included in the care packages include: 

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Nursing pads
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby soap
  • Thermometers
  •  Blankets
  • Bottles 


  • Must be a single woman who is pregnant or within the first two months of postpartum 

How to get help: 

Help for single moms in Buffalo, New York

The following resources serve residents of Buffalo, N.Y.: 

Emergency assistance in Buffalo

If you need emergency cash for expenses like utilities, rent, and groceries, here are some helpful resources to consider in Buffalo. 

Erie County Temporary Assistance 

Erie County Department of Social Services offers multiple emergency cash assistance programs for Buffalo residents in need, such as a place to stay for those experiencing homelessness, one-time mortgage or rent payment help, and one-time grants to assist families with buying necessary household furniture and supplies. A full list of emergency cash assistance services can be found online


Eligibility for all benefits offered as part of the county’s Temporary Assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis. Factors that may be considered include:

  • Family income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level 
  • Household size 
  • The reason for the need

How to get help:

  • Call 716-858-8000
  • Email [email protected] 
  • Apply for benefits in person at 158 Pearl Street in Buffalo
    • The benefits office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fill out and mail the application

ACCESS of WNY’s Needy Family Fund

The Needy Family Fund helps Western New Yorkers who are experiencing an emergency by offering one-time cash assistance. The amount of cash awarded and what the funds can be used for are determined on a case-by-case basis.  

Some examples of how the Needy Family Fund can help include: 

  • Rental assistance
  • Utilities
  • Gas vouchers
  • Motel vouchers
  • Food vouchers
  • Prescription medication costs 
  • Bus passes
  • Vocational training and tuition

Qualifications for assistance vary and include income, family size and reason for the assistance.  

How to get help:

Housing help in Buffalo

If you need housing help in Buffalo, here are some options:

Buffalo City Mission 

Buffalo City Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter, known as Cornerstone Manor, provides food and a safe place to stay for Buffalo residents in need. The manor allows moms and children to have a stable place to live while going through the Buffalo City Mission’s Transitional Housing Program, which helps families find and maintain permanent housing. Through City Mission programs, moms and adults can partake in job training, education programs and classes, health and wellness events and more. 


Single moms in need of assistance must apply before receiving services. 

How to get help:

Cynthia Gardens Apartments

The Cynthia Gardens Apartments consist of eight townhouse-style rental units located on Hudson Street in Buffalo. Two of the units are two handicapped-adaptable, two-bedroom apartments. Each apartment has been furnished with appliances, including a refrigerator, range oven and dishwasher as well as an in-unit washer and dryer. 

At Cynthia Gardens Apartments, there are two-bedroom units at roughly 950 square feet and cost $575 per month as well as three-bedroom apartments that cost $655 per month. The monthly rental fee includes water, sewer and trash but does not include gas or electric bills. 

As of January 2024, there are no vacancies. Cynthia Gardens Apartments has a first-come-first-serve waitlist for people interested in a unit.  


Families in need of assistance must call and be added to the waitlist.   

How to get help:

  • Call 716-882-7661 ext. 205
    • To be added to the waitlist, provide full name, phone number, and mailing address and specify if interested in a two or three-bedroom apartment  
  • Email [email protected] 

Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance Program

The City of Buffalo, in partnership with the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and Heart of the City Neighborhoods Inc., offers the Down Payment and Closing Cost (DPCC) Assistance Program to help first-time homebuyers purchase a home in the city. The program offers up to $10,000 in financial assistance in the form of a no-interest conditional grant to help with closing costs and down payment expenses. The funds awarded must only be repaid if the home is sold within five years. 


  • Must be a first-time homebuyer
  • The property must be:
    • In the City of Buffalo 
    • Classified a single-family or a double-family home
    • Owned by the applicant for at least 18 months
    • In good condition and not in need of repairs 
    • Under the sales price limit of $223,000 for a single-family home or $286,000 for a double-family home
  • Household annual income limit of 80 percent AMI
  • Household assets under $35,000, not including funds being put toward purchase 
  • Must complete a HUD Certified Homebuyer Education course

How to get help:

Emergency Assistance Program

The City of Buffalo’s Emergency Assistance Program helps families with funding to cover the cost of emergency home repairs, which include:

  • A leaking and deteriorated roof
  • Sewer line breaks
  • Main water line breaks
  • Broken heating system
  • Inoperable hot water tank
  • Electrical panel issues
  • Water meter connection problems
  • Gas line hazards

For households in need of emergency repairs, the city’s program can only address one problem. This program offers applicants funding in the form of full or partial conditional and no-interest loans to address one emergency condition. 


  • Household income limit of 80 percent of AMI 
  • Household assets of less than $35,000
  • Must own and have lived in the home for at least 12 months
  • The home must be single or double-family and not built with Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency funding 
  • Must not have previously received home buyer assistance from the City of Buffalo
  • Must be up to date on all taxes and other housing fees

How to get help:

Medical and dental care help in Buffalo

If you are looking for help with medical or dental care in Buffalo, check out these resources:

Good Neighbors Health Care 

Good Neighbors Health Care operates a free clinic where adults can receive medical and dental care. The clinic is operated by volunteer medical staff and is funded by donations. All services are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The clinic opens on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m.

Services offered:

  • Primary Medical Care
    • Treatment for common illnesses, physicals, prescriptions and referrals to free or low-fee specialty services 
  • Dental Care
    • Exams, cleanings, extractions, and fillings
  • Counseling
    • Social workers, mental health professionals and religious leaders offer spiritual and emotional support services 


  • Must be 18 or older 

How to get help:

  • Call  716-856-2400 x 220
  • Email [email protected] 
  • For medical and dental care, visit 175 Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo

Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic

The Lighthouse Free Medical Clinic, located at 34 Benwood Avenue in Buffalo, provides medical services at no cost to adults and children. The free clinic, which is open on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., is operated by medical students from the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine who are overseen by licensed local physicians. The clinic does not provide dental care or offer any vaccinations.

Services offered by the clinic include:

  • Physicals
  • Sick visits
  • Referrals to specialists 
  • Dermatology 
  • Gynecological services, including PAP smears and birth control education
  • Screenings for chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension
  • Counseling 
  • Treatment for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Nutrition advice 


  • The clinic’s numerous services are free and available to everyone, regardless of insurance status  

How to get help:

Food assistance in Buffalo

Here is a food resource local to Buffalo, N.Y.:

Food Bank of Western New York

The Food Bank of Western New York collects and distributes free food to hundreds of locations across Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. The Food Bank’s online pantry locator helps you find all the free food sites.

The Food Bank also offers a Mobile Food Pantry Program that delivers fresh food items such as produce and dairy products directly to families in need throughout Western New York. A list of all the mobile pantry upcoming locations can be found online


  • Household income below 225% of the federal income poverty level
  • Automatically eligible if receiving assistance from the following programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Resident of Western New York 

How to get help:

Buffalo City Mission 

The Buffalo City Mission offers three free hot meals to anyone in need every day of the week at 100 East Tupper Street in Buffalo. Free breakfast is available from 8:30 to 9 a.m., lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to noon, and dinner is from 4 to 4:30 p.m. 

The City Mission also operates a food pantry where people can pick from a variety of free groceries and clothing items. The pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 


  • All who are in need may visit the mission

How to get help:

  • Call 716-854-8181

Education help in Buffalo

Here are some education resources in Buffalo:

New Hope Education Center

The New Hope Education Center offers free education and training programs for adults to help lead to good-paying careers. The adult education center provides a path to employment as well as support for people looking to participate in their certificate-based training programs.

The Buffalo Public School Adult Education program offers GED test preparation, English as a Second Language courses as well as multiple career-focused classes, including:

  • Allied Health Office Technology
  • Residential Electric
  • Intro to Automation/PLC
  • Hands-on Home Improvement
  • Construction Skills
  • Steam Engineering
  • Customer Service
  • Nursing 

How to get help:

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL) has a central library and eight branches in Buffalo plus 28 facilities outside of the city operated by member libraries. The public library system offers dozens of services for adults and children, including homework assistance, job training programs, education classes, GED preparation and more. 

How to get help:

Say Yes Buffalo 

Say Yes Buffalo awards multiple scholarships and grants to eligible graduates of Buffalo Public School. The scholarships available include:

  • A tuition scholarship to SUNY and CUNY schools that covers tuition expenses and fees after state and federal aid are applied. The amount awarded is determined by the number of consecutive years a student has attended a public or charter school in Buffalo
  • An opportunity grant of up to $2,000 for students at SUNY and CUNY schools that can be used to help cover the cost of some non-tuition expenses, such as books, fees and room and board. 
  • A tuition scholarship to one of the more than 75 partner schools covers the full cost of tuition to students who live in households that have incomes of less than $75,000. A list of the partner schools can be found online. 
  • The Choice Grant is available to students whose household incomes are more than $75,000. The grant offers up to $5,000 per year toward tuition at one of the numerous partner schools. 


  • Must be a Buffalo resident 
  • Must have completed grades 9 through 12 in consecutive years at a Buffalo public or charter school. With documentation, the following students are automatically deemed eligible regardless of years of completion:
    •  Legally designated as having McKinney-Vento status
    • Have refugee status or be an eligible noncitizen
    • Have documented Foster Care placement or are a ward of the court
    • Complete the Buffalo Public School Adult Education College Career Institute 
  • Must enroll full-time at a partner college within one year of high school graduation
  • Must apply for all federal and state financial aid programs available 

How to get help:

Employment help in Buffalo

Check out this employment resource in Buffalo:

Workforce Buffalo 

Workforce Buffalo’s Career Centers provide resources and services for people currently looking for employment. Priority service is given to low-income Buffalo residents and to those who are deficient in basic skills. At the centers, people can get individualized career advice and training, which includes help with creating resumes as well as networking and interviewing tips.

For teens and young adults ages 14 to 25, Workforce Buffalo offers multiple services to help with education and professional advancement. Services available include tutoring, High School Equivalency/GED prep, paid and unpaid work experience, mentoring and support services, counseling and more. 

How to get help:

Charity organizations in Buffalo

There are several charitable organizations throughout Buffalo that offer support to single moms:

Baby & Children's Ministry

Harvest House’s Baby & Children's Ministry allows mothers to browse through a selection of free baby and child items, including clothing, cribs, car seats, strollers, educational toys and books. The free shop is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment only. 


  • Those wanting to visit the free shop must make an appointment 

How to get help: 

  • To make an appointment, call  716-824-7818
  • The shop is located at 175 Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo

Hearts for the Homeless

Hearts for the Homeless operates numerous free food programs as well as a thrift store where shoppers can find low-cost clothing. For Buffalo residents in need of food, Hearts for Homeless offers:

  • Feedmore Mobile Food Pantry is held from 1 to 3 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of the month, except in November and December, and offers a variety of items from fresh food to toiletries. The pop-up pantry is available to anyone and is located at the Hearts Campus on Tonawanda Street in Buffalo
  • The Mobile Soup Kitchen serves meals five nights a week where people in need can get hot meals, sandwiches, drinks and desserts. Depending on availability, clothing items may also be offered. The Mobile Soup Kitchen is located outside the Buffalo library on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m., Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m.
  • Hearts Harvest Food Pantry, located at 870 Tonawanda Street in Buffalo, is a food pantry that operates like a “client choice” grocery store. Hearts Harvest Food Pantry allows families to pick out foods that they want and need and offers fresh products from local farms and community gardens when possible. The pantry is open Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hearts for the Homeless operates two thrift stores where families can shop for low-cost clothing, shoes, accessories and household items such as decor, toys and games. The Hearts for the Homeless Thrift Store location at 2217 Sheridan Drive in Buffalo is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the Thrift Store at 890 Tonawanda Street is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

How to get help: 

Help for single moms in Rochester, New York

The following resources serve residents of Rochester, N.Y.: 

Emergency assistance in Rochester

If you need emergency cash for expenses like utilities, rent, and groceries, here are some helpful resources to consider in Rochester: 

Catholic Charities Family and Community Services

Catholic Charities Family and Community Services offers support with finding emergency food and rent programs as well as financial assistance. Catholic Charities also provides short-term crisis intervention, job training, clothing and other necessities and shelter. 

Services are available by appointment only. Eligibility and the amount of assistance awarded are determined on a case-by-case basis.

How to get help:

Housing help in Rochester

If you need housing help in Rochester, here are some options:

YWCA’s Emergency Housing program

The Emergency Housing program provides mothers and children with a safe place to stay to help homeless families move toward housing and financial stability. Families can stay in individual rooms or apartments and have access to a shared kitchen, lounge, and children’s playroom. 

Women entering the housing program can meet with a case manager to create a personalized plan. Families also have access to on-site health screenings and mental health services. Mothers participating in the program can use the YWCA’s drop-in childcare while searching for permanent housing, attending classes or work. 


Single moms in need of assistance must apply before receiving services. In-person applications for the Emergency Assistance program are done at the Department of Human Services located at 691 St. Paul Street in Rochester. 

How to get help:

House of Mercy 

The House of Mercy helps Rochester residents in need by providing food, shelter and clothing. For families who are experiencing homelessness and in need of a place to stay, the House of Mercy operates a 76-bed shelter. A Food Pantry, which offers a range of essential food and household items, is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

How to get help:

Home Purchase Assistance Program 

The City of Rochester's Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) offers grants of up to $6,000 to help first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs.


  • Must be a first-time homebuyer
  • Homes must be in Rochester 
  • Buyers must contribute $1,500 of their own money
  • Buyers must live in the property for at least five years 
  • Buyers must qualify for a mortgage loan for at least $25,000
  • Buyers must attend homebuyer training and education 
  • Buyers must have a median family income below 120%

How to get help:

Medical and dental care help in Rochester

If you are looking for help with medical or dental care in Rochester check out these resources:

UR Well

University of Rochester medical students run three UR Well clinics in the Rochester area that offer free medical services for adults. 

The three UR Wll clinics are located at:

  • Asbury First United Methodist Church on East Avenue
  • St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center on South Avenue
  • Maplewood YMCA on Driving Park Avenue 

Services include: 

  • Physicals 
  • Screening services for chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes
  • Ongoing care for chronic conditions
  • Referrals to specialists 
  • Health education and preventative medicine
  • Social evaluations to determine patient eligibility for programs like Medicaid


  • Must be 18 or older 
  • Appointments are required 

How to get help:

The Mobile Clinic 

Trillium Health’s Mobile Clinic brings free medical services to Rochester residents in need through its 39-foot-long vehicle equipped with exam rooms and a waiting area. The Mobile Clinic sees patients seeking treatment for acute and common conditions,  wellness check-ups, STD testing and treatment and COVID-19 testing. 

How to get help:

  • Call 585-545-7200

Food assistance in Rochester

Here is a food resource local to Rochester, New York:


Foodlink offers a comprehensive searchable online list of all the locations offering free food in the Rochester area. Foodlink allows people to search for local food pantries, community meal programs and food distribution sites throughout 10 counties.   

The Rochester-based nonprofit also operates the Foodlink Community Kitchen, which provides meals and snacks to students under age 18 during after-school and summer programs.  

How to get help:

The Community Food Cupboard of Rochester 

The Community Food Cupboard of Rochester offers two programs to ensure Rochester residents have food in times of crisis. Through the Emergency Program, families in need can receive three days worth of food. The nonprofit also has a Delivery Program for people with qualifying medical situations to receive deliveries of six days worth of food once per month. The Delivery Program includes foods for special diets if needed. 

How to get help:

Education help in Rochester

Here are some education resources in Rochester:

Rochester Education Foundation scholarships 

The Rochester Education Foundation (REF) offers four scholarships to students of the Rochester City School District and charter schools to help high school seniors who are planning to attend a two or four-year school after graduation. REF reviews the applications in April and the awards are given in May. 

The four scholarships offered include: 

  • The Pat Braus Founder’s Community Service Award Scholarship ($500)
  • The Edward Wilson Sr. Memorial Scholarship ($500)
  • The Vincent N. Fazio Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)
    • Applicants must be Edison Tech seniors
  • The Shashi Gholkar Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Keep an eye on the scholarship page to know when the application window opens. 


Each of the four scholarships has its own set of eligibility requirements. Students must include a counselor or teacher nomination with their application. 

How to get help:

The Rochester Public Library

The Rochester Public Library (RPL) has 11 branches across the city of Rochester where adults and children can find a variety of free events, services, and classes. The public library system offers educational resources to help adults and children, including homework assistance, job training programs, education classes, GED preparation and more. 

How to get help:

Employment help in Rochester

Check out these employment resources in Rochester:


RochesterWorks offers free services to Rochester residents who are looking for employment. The nonprofit provides numerous programs, events and classes at four career centers throughout the city. RochesterWorks does not offer employment to job seekers but assists with the job searching process by providing workshops, e-learning courses, one-on-one advising and recruitment events. 

The nonprofit also offers a grant of up to $6,000 for Rochester residents to return to school or attend training programs for certain occupations. Job seekers can find the list of eligible jobs that qualify for the training grant online. 


Job seekers interested in RochesterWorks services must make an appointment. The career centers do not have walk-in availability.  

How to get help:

  • Schedule an appointment online 
  • Call 585-258-3500 

Charity organizations in Rochester

There are several charitable organizations throughout Rochester that offer support to single moms:

Mothers In Need of Others

Mothers In Need of Others (MINO) helps moms find necessary items for their babies, including diapers, wipes, formula, baby wash, lotion, bottles, and receiving blankets. MINO also collects and distributes cleaning products, breastfeeding supplies and feminine and personal hygiene products. 


  • Mothers in need of assistance must work with a case manager or church staff member as MINO does not supply the items directly to individuals 

How to get help: 

The Margaret Home 

The Margaret Home provides a safe place to live for pregnant women and single mothers and their children. The free residential program gives women and children a place to stay for up to two years and offers numerous programs and services at no cost.

Some of the free services, in addition to housing, include:

  • An education coach to help you complete high school requirements or pursue higher education  
  • An employment coach to help you look for jobs with applications, prepare for interviews and offer career advice 
  • Provide support services, such as babysitting, parenting classes and transportation 


  • Pregnant or parenting mothers
  • Age 18 or older
  • Free from drugs or active in a recovery program
  • Not diagnosed with severe mental illness

How to get help: 


  1. “The Long-Term Impacts of Cash Assistance to Families,” by Kevin Werner, The Urban Institute, Jan. 31, 2024

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