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Financial, Energy & Housing Assistance

The Department of Social Services provides direction and assistance in securing financial assistance, temporary and affordable housing and access to the HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program). 

Emergency Financial Assistance

What is Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA)?
Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA) is available to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who face emergency situations which endanger their health, safety or welfare.

What are the Available Resources under EAA?
These emergency needs would include financial help to prevent evictions and homelessness, the provision of emergency housing and payment for moving expenses, among other items of need.
An EAA funded emergency shelter allowance is also available to persons who have AIDS or persons who have tested positive for HIV and have an HIV-related illness provided that certain eligibility criteria are met.

What is Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF)?
Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF) is a federally participating program which helps to meet the needs of persons dealing with crises and emergency situations beyond their control.  Such needs could include financial help with eviction, homelessness, heating fuel, utility disconnects, domestic violence, and child care (day care or temporary foster care).

Who is eligible for EAF?
To be eligible for EAF, either as part of an ongoing public assistance case or for one-time only assistance, certain criteria must be met:

The child is without resources immediately accessible to meet his needs. A family must have a child under age 18, or a child under age 19 who regularly attends secondary school. The child for whom EAF is provided must be currently living with an eligible relative. Women who have been medically verified as pregnant, but who have no other children, may receive EAF if they are otherwise eligible for public assistance. Illegal aliens who meet categorical and programmatic criteria.


Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded energy assistance program. New York’s grant is allocated among the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) for a heating benefit program, the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for weatherization activities and the State Office for the Aging for outreach and referral activities.  Applications are taken at the Department of Social Services and the Schenectady Community Action Program.

Who is eligible for HEAP?
New York State has structured HEAP in such a way that higher benefits are provided to those households that: have larger percentages of their income spent on energy costs; contain a vulnerable individual; and have the lowest income.
Vulnerable Individuals are defined as children under the age of 6, adults aged 60 or older, or disabled individuals.

What are the guidelines for eligibility?
Eligibility for the program is based on income and your household situation.  Your total gross monthly income for your household size must be at or below the following levels as illustrated in the HEAP Income Guideline.

What is an “eligible household”?

You must also be living in an eligible household You must either pay directly for heating costs or must pay rent that includes heating costs. If you reside in subsidized housing, you must pay heating costs separately from your rent. Individual applicants must be United States citizens or qualified aliens. You can apply for regular HEAP benefits at



Payments to households that pay for heat separate from their rent are sent directly to the household’s identified energy vendor. Payments to households that have their heat included in their rent are paid directly to the household.

Automatic Payment Component

Again this year households that are in receipt of temporary assistance or Food Stamps with HEAP eligible living arrangements are identified via our statewide computer system and are issued a payment automatically through that system.  No application is required.


How will I receive my benefits?

Households may receive regular benefits in one of the ways listed below:
Click Here for HEAP Application 
Those applicants aged 60 or older, in receipt of temporary assistance (TA), Food Stamps (FS), or SSI or those under age 60 who received a benefit in the prior year are permitted mail in access.  Outreach is performed to groups with vulnerable individuals.   Applicants over the age of 60 should contact the Schenectady County DSS at 797 Broadway. 

Those households not permitted mail in access must apply in person for benefits.  Applications are taken at the department of social services 797 Broadway. Schenectady DSS also provides for alternate sites for individuals to file applications.  The Schenectady Community Action program located at 913 Albany Street accepts applications M-W-F from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wed. only from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Please arrive 45 minutes before closing time to allow staff to fully complete the application process.)
  • You must apply in person at 797 Broadway for emergency benefits.
  • For after hours emergencies contact (518) 382-0383.

What if I have a emergency situation?
In order to be eligible for emergency benefits, the household must meet the above criteria and must also:

Be in an emergency as defined by the New York State HEAP Plan. Be the customer of record. Reside in the dwelling with the emergency. Have insufficient liquid resources to meet the emergency.
Housing and Homeless Services

The housing office of the Schenectady County DSS is located at 797 Broadway. The office provides temporary shelter to homeless families, singles and childless couples in the county.  The process begins with an assessment to determine the circumstances causing the need for temporary housing assistance (THA).

What Services are Provided?

Placement and Payment – The office handles the placement of homeless in Schenectady County and payment to facilities and agencies that provide services.

Housing Resources Development – The office works with agency providers who establish housing services or other services designed to prevent homelessness.

Case Management Services – The office coordinates the provision of casework services to the homeless provided by the not-for-profit agencies and providers direct casework services to the hard to serve populations.

Support Services – The office assists homeless families and singles in the search for permanent housing.  The office provides information and referral services about available housing resources including Section 8, municipal housing or other special needs resources.

What do I need to do to apply for help?

An application for public assistance is required. Eligibility is based upon case specific household circumstances. Each household must cooperate in the creation of an “Independent Living Plan”.  Continued eligibility for temporary housing assistance is based on the household maintaining full compliance with the terms and conditions of the plan. Any income available to the household is budgeted toward the cost of the temporary housing assistance. All requirements concerning documentation, substance abuse assessments, employment, child support cooperation and other specific eligibility requirements apply to individuals or families that are homeless. All households receiving temporary housing assistance must document their search for permanent housing as a condition for receiving such assistance.