Financial Assistance in New York City

Everyone gets behind on bills and other financial matters from time to time. helpNYC maintains a list of organizations and programs that provide New Yorkers with various financial services.

NYC Free Tax Prep

Department of Consumer AffairsCity of New York
Volunteer Income Tax AssistanceInternal Revenue Service
website

You may be eligible for no charge Federal and State Income Tax preparation from one of NYC Free Tax Prep sites operated by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. These tax preparation sites are staffed by trained and certified volunteers. They can handle most tax returns, deductions, and schedules by providing the following two types of services:

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) is a program of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for people who generally made up to $64,000 in 2019 tax year, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Click here to see our story in Answering the Call Newsletter about NYC Free Tax Prep 2019 tax year eligibility details.

Please visit www.nyc.gov/taxprep for more information NYC Free Tax Prep program.

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers

Department of Consumer AffairsCity of New York
website

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers, a program operated by the City of New York's Department of Consumer Affairs, provides one-on-one professional, financial counseling and coaching to support you in reaching your goals at no charge. Counselors work with individuals to: reduce debt; understand rights and responsibilities when it comes to student loans; strengthen personal credit score; make saving a part of routine; balance a budget; open a bank account; separate personal and business finances and much more.

Click here to find more information about NYC Financial Empowerment Centers.

NYC SafeStart Account

Department of Consumer AffairsCity of New York
website

The City of New York's Department of Consumer Affairs operates the NYC SafeStart Account program. This program allows every New Yorker a banking account at participating banks and credit unions. Participating banks and credit unions will accept IDNYC to open an account. The NYC SafeStart Account does not have overdraft fees; monthly fees, if the minimum balance requirement is maintained (usually $25.00 or less); and an ATM Card is provided.

The NYC Financial Empowerment Centers can help with opening a NYC SafeStart Account.

IDNYC is accepted at all participating banks and credit unions as primary identification. Depending on policies of the banks and credit unions some may require proof of address, Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and/or a small initial deposit. Credit Unions may have additional membership requirements like residency, employer, or relational requirements.

A voucher is required to open an account at a participating bank or credit union. The voucher is available to download from the Department of Consumer Affairs' website.

Click here to find more information about the NYC SafeStart Account program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Human Resources AdministrationCity of New York
website

The City of New York's Human Resources Administration (HRA) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as "food stamps" for residents of New York City. SNAP is available to New Yorkers that are having difficulty paying for groceries. SNAP benefits come on a debit card that can be used at many grocery stores and farmers markets.

To apply for SNAP benefits in New York City a person must be an United States Citizen or have satisfactory immigration status; be a resident of New York City; proof of identity; proof of residence; and proof of income or the lack of income. You can apply online at the ACCESS NYC website, in person, by fax, or by mail.

Click here to find more information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Homebase

Human Resources AdministrationCity of New York
website

Homebase is an program of the City of New York’s Human Resources Administration to help people that are in risk of losing their housing. The City of New York has found that it is easier and more cost effective to help people stay in their housing rather then having to enter the shelter system or living on the streets. The Homebase program can help with services to prevent eviction, assistance obtaining public benefits, emergency rental assistance, education and job placement assistance, financial counseling, money management, help relocating, and short-term financial assistance.

Click here to find more information about Homebase.

One Shot Deal

Human Resources AdministrationCity of New York
website

If you homeless, facing depossession, eviction, utility disconnect, victim of a fire, domestic violence, or other hardship you may be eligible for the Short Term Emergency Grant and Loan program called "The One Shot Deal" from the City of New York.

Click here for more information about The One Shot Deal.

Rental Assistance

Human Resources AdministrationCity of New York
website

If you are facing eviction or entertaining the shelter system the City of New York's Human Resources Administration has several programs that can help you with your housing issues.

Click here to find more information about Rental Assistance Programs.

Utilities Assistance

Human Resources AdministrationCity of New York
website

Through the Federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) you can get help from the City of New York to help pay your electric, gas, or heating costs if you have received a disconnect notice.

Click here for more information for assistance in paying your utilities.