Local Help for Money Woes

January 7th, 2009

To help you navigate the challenges of the economic downturn, here’s a list of web sites, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies in New York and New Jersey that target unemployment, career services, mortgages and foreclosures, health insurance benefits, financial services and other issues.


1. Online Directories
2. Unemployment Resources
3. Career Services
4. Career Services for Retirees
5. Benefits and Health Insurance
6. Housing
7. Legal Counsel
8. Financial Advice
9. Small Business/Personal Loans/Credit Unions
10. Student Loans
11. Mental Health


NJ 2-1-1 (NJ)
NJ 2-1-1 creates one easy access point to the health, human services, community resources and government assistance programs throughout New Jersey. You may search the database online, call 2-1-1 from your telephone, or chat online live with a 2-1-1 specialist.

United Way of New York City CARES Database (NY)
Online directory of social services, healthcare services, mental health services, and other programs throughout the New York City area.


New Jersey State Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJ)
For information about unemployment insurance and eligibility
Call: (609) 292-7162

New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Office (NY)
Apply for unemployment insurance in New York State
Call: (888) 581-5812

Unemployment Action Center (NYC and Long Island)
The Unemployment Action Center, Inc., (UAC) is a non-profit, student-run organization devoted to the representation of unemployment insurance claimants throughout New York City and Long Island.
Call: (212) 998-6568

Workers Defense League (NYC)
The Workers Defense League assists workers with work-related problems and conducts educational campaigns on various employee-rights issues. The Workers Defense League provides free representation to hundreds of people believed to have been unfairly denied unemployment insurance benefits after losing or leaving their jobs. Please note that the individuals providing advice and representation are not lawyers, but are qualified to represent clients at hearings.
Call:(212) 627-1931


Workforce NJ (WNJPIN) (NJ)
WNJPIN offers online workforce services to employees and employers in New Jersey.

One-Stop Career Centers (NJ)
Located throughout New Jersey, One-Stop Career Centers offers free career development services.

Workforce1 Career Centers are a partnership of agencies and organizations that provide free job training, recruitment and placement services throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
Dial 311 and ask for “Workforce1”


AARP Senior Community Service Employment Program (NY)
SCSEP offers services and information, as well as job and skill training, to job seekers age 55 and older.
SCSEP offices:

Rodolfo Colon, SCSEP Project Director
384 East 149 Street, Suite 608
Bronx, NY 10455
(718) 585-2500
(718) 292-5613 (FAX)
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Luz Maldonado, SCSEP Project Director
44 Court Street, Suite 701
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 834-1100
(718) 834-8100 (FAX)
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Joe Dirac, SCSEP Project Director
103 East 125th Street, Suite 604
New York, NY 10035-1641
(212) 423-9922
(212) 423-9925 (FAX)
Hours: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Department for the Aging Senior Employment Services (SES) (NY)
SES assists New York City residents 55 years of age and older who are seeking work opportunities. SES offers job search techniques, job training and part-and full-time job placements. All SES programs offer employment contact and placement assistance for low to moderate income mature adults.
Dial 311 or call (212) 442-1353

ReServe Elder Service (NYC)
ReServe connects older adults with stipend-paying jobs that challenge them to use their lifetime skills for public good.
Call: (212) 792-6205

Retirementjobs.com (US)

The RetirementJobs service is a free service for job seekers. Their goal is to identify companies best-suited for older workers and match them with active adults seeking a job or project that matches their lifestyle.


NJ FamilyCare (NJ)
NJ FamilyCare provides affordable health coverage for kids and certain low-income parents.
Call: (800) 701-0710

NJ HELPS Department of Human Services (NJ)
The NJ Helps DHS Services home page is designed to give consumers a one-stop shopping resource for the wide range of programs and services provided by the Department of Human Services and its partners, to assist individuals, families and communities in New Jersey.

Access NYC (NY)
ACCESS NYC is a free online service that identifies and screens for more than 30 city, state and federal human service benefit programs.
Dial 311 (NYC 24-hour citizen service hotline)

Freelancers Union (NY)
Freelancers Union is a nonprofit organization that represents the needs of America’s independent workforce through advocacy, information, and service. Freelancers Union offers health, dental, life and disability insurance for independent workers.
Call: (800) 856-9981 (toll free)

New York State Department of Insurance (NY)
An index of HMO plans and premium rates throughout New York State listed by county.

New York State Health Insurance Resource Center (NY)
The center provides information on health insurance plans and up-to-date information to evaluate and compare various health insurance options and companies.
Call: Consumer Services Bureau
Tel: (800) 342-3736 or (212) 480-6400 (New York City)

NYC Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP) (NY)
NYC MCCAP provides consumers in New York City with information, counseling and assistance on managed care issues. MCCAP helps people understand and use Medicaid, Medicare, Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, and commercial insurance. MCCAP also offers consumer hotlines, educational workshops and hands-on assistance to consumers having problems getting care.
Call: (212) 614-5400


New Jersey Housing Resource Center (NJ)
NJHRC is an online tool for finding and listing affordable housing information in New Jersey.

NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) (NYC)
HPD offers courses to help homeowners with credit counseling, budgeting, foreclosure prevention, mortgage refinancing, home maintenance and repairs. HPD also offers low-cost loans for home repair.
General inquiries: Dial 311 – NYC’s 24-hour hotline
To locate the nearest HPD Homeowner Services Program: (212) 863-5300
Mortgage Refinance and Homeowner Services Unit: (212) 863-6404

Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) (NY)

NEDAP’s Fair Lending Education & Outreach Program provides information, training and referrals to help New York City homeowners and homebuyers protect themselves against predatory lending practices.
Call: (212) 680-5100

Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of New York City (NY)

NHS is a not-for-profit housing organization, established in 1982, that helps New Yorkers buy and improve their homes. There are NHS locations throughout the five boroughs.
Call: (718) 732-8118

Pratt Area Community Council Home Services (Brooklyn)
PACC serves a wide geographic area in Central Brooklyn that encompasses Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford Stuyvesant and Prospect Heights with a strong focus on Community Districts 2 and 3 (CD2 and CD3).

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) (US)

HUD’s mission is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing, free from discrimination.
Call: (800) FED-INFO


LawHelp (US)
LawHelp is an online directory that locates free legal aid programs in low-to-moderate income communities throughout the country and provides information about legal rights.

Legal Services NYC (NYC)
Legal Services is dedicated to helping low-income Manhattan residents with their civil legal problems regarding housing, government benefits, HIV/AIDS, consumer, immigration and family issues. With locations in all five boroughs, Legal Services provides free counsel and legal advice to those who are unable to afford it.
Call: (646) 442-3600

The Legal Aid Society (NY)
The Legal Aid Society provides free legal assistance to New Yorkers who live at or below the poverty line and cannot afford to hire a lawyer or pay for counsel.


New York State Department of Banking: Consumer Help Unit (NY)
NYS Dep. of Banking’s Consumer Help Unit website is designed to help users learn about important finance issues and file complaints directly with the Banking Department.
For assistance, advice and referrals: (877) BANK-NYS
For small business owners: (212) 709-3576

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE)

OFE empowers, educates and protects low-income residents, so they can build assets and make the most of their financial resources. OFE is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 18 initiatives to help New Yorkers through the challenges brought on by the recent economic downturn.
Dial 311 – NYC’s 24-hour hotline

Financial Education Network Directory (NYC)

Launched by OFE, the Financial Education Network (FEN) is a partnership of financial education providers. A cornerstone of FEN is the easy-to-search online directory of financial education classes, workshops, hotlines and one-on-one counseling services in New York City. Indexed by the OFE team, financial education offerings cover a variety of money topics to help New Yorkers with finances – from opening a bank account to saving for retirement.

Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS)

CUCS offers a range of housing and social services, community-based programs and employment services to individuals and families in New York City who are homeless, formerly homeless, low-income, living with mental illness or who have other special needs.

Credit Where Credit is Due
(Upper Manhattan)

CWCID provides financial education and counseling programs for low-income individuals and families to learn financial literacy and economic empowerment skills.

Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (Harlem)

Provides free financial education classes on credit, debt assistance, homeownership, landlord training, money management and savings to residents of Harlem.

Make the Road New York

The Legal and Support Services Department provides free finance and business counseling and services to working class and low-income people. Make the Road New York has centers in Bushwick, Brooklyn; Woodside and Jackson Heights, Queens; and Port Richmond, Staten Island.

The Financial Clinic (NYC)

Provides legal and advocacy services, financial coaching, tax and preparation services to low-income New Yorkers.
Call: (212) 614-5355


National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (US)
Call: (800) 437-8711

Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
Serves Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union (NY)
Neighborhood Trust is a nonprofit, cooperative financial institution dedicated to immigrant communities of Washington Heights, Inwood and West Harlem.

ACCION New York and New Jersey (NY, NJ)
ACCION is a community organization that offers flexible business loans up to $50,000 to qualified borrowers.
Call: (212) 387-0494

New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) (NY)
NYBDC provides innovative loans to small and medium-size businesses, and assists minority and women-owned businesses by offering credit opportunities otherwise not available to them.

NYC Business Solutions Centers (NYC)
NYC Business Solution Centers help businesses in New York City open, operate and expand in the five boroughs. Some of the services offered include hiring, training funds, M/WBE certification, financing, establishment and contract review and business planning.
Call: DIAL 311 and ask for NYC Business Solutions

U.S. Small Business Administration (US)
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the national economy.
Call: (800) U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722)


National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Program
An online resource for borrowers, their families and advocates representing student loan borrowers. This resource is for people who already have student loans and want to know more about their options and rights.


Mental Health Association of NYC – Lifenet (NY)
LifeNet is a free service offering information. A hotline is available to help New Yorkers find emotional support or mental health treatment for themselves or their loved ones. Help is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The staff speaks a variety of languages.
Call: (800) LifeNet (1-800-543-3638)

Also Watch the program “What Do I Do Now?” online.

Compiled by It’s the Economy, NY Researcher Jessica Windt.