The City of New York is committed to helping New Yorkers significantly affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Many city services are available to all New Yorkers no matter what your immigration status is and regardless of your ability to pay, although other eligibility requirements may apply.
This information is up to date as of October 8, 2021. The information on available services and resources is frequently changing. For updated information, visit NYCEM’s Post-Storm Resources page.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get help even if I am undocumented?
Yes. While some programs are limited by immigration status, many city services and benefits are available to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. This guide provides information about those benefits. More information is available at nyc.gov/immigrants.
Where can I get help?
The City has collocated service centers with FEMA's disaster recovery centers to provide resources to New Yorkers affected by this emergency. For more information, see NYCEM’s Post-Storm Resources page.
FEMA says that only “qualified aliens” can get FEMA assistance. What does this mean?
The federal government classifies certain immigrants as “qualified aliens” for the purpose of providing disaster assistance services:
How can I get financial help if I do not qualify for FEMA assistance?
What do I do if I have lost my identity documents?
There are options for you – it is common and understandable for people to lose documents after a disaster.
Depending on the type of document that has been lost or damaged, you need to consult with a different government agency. Individuals who have lost important documents or whose documents were damaged by the storm should apply for replacement documents.
In addition, all New York residents are eligible to apply for and receive an IDNYC, NYC’s municipal ID card. IDNYC Enrollment Centers are currently available by appointment only and offered on a limited basis. As part of our commitment to safety, walk-ins will not be accepted. To schedule an appointment, visit our Online Portal and click "Make an Appointment". More appointments will be added as they become available.
What if I need language access help to apply for help?
The City has collocated service centers with FEMA's disaster recovery centers to provide resources to New Yorkers affected by this emergency. Language access, including interpretation, is available at those sites.
Remember, you have the right to ask agency staff for interpretation services. City agencies covered by Local Law 30 are required to provide telephonic interpretation in at least 100 languages.
If you speak one of the ten designated citywide languages, ask if the materials you need are in your language. City agencies covered by Local Law 30 are required to translate their most-commonly-distributed documents into the 10 languages.
The ten designated citywide languages are: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian, Korean, Arabic, Urdu, French, and Polish.
If you do not receive interpretation when seeking services from a City agency, call 311 and say "language access" to submit a complaint. You may also call 311 to suggest additional language services.
Will accepting help during this time have public charge consequences?
FEMA benefits are not considered in any public charge test. The same is true of the joint city/state program to serve undocumented immigrants ineligible for FEMA relief.
All New Yorkers in need of medical care, food assistance, and other benefits and services should seek the help they need without fear. Many health and social services—including COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and treatment, food assistance, tenant protection, and free legal help—are available to New Yorkers no matter your immigration status or ability to pay. View more information or call 311 to learn about available services and resources in your language.
Public Charge policy does not affect eligibility requirements for public benefits. Many immigrants do not face a Public Charge test in their immigration applications. There is no Public Charge test for green card holders applying for citizenship.
For more information, or if you are concerned about the public charge rule, call the ActionNYC hotline at 800-354-0365, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and say "public charge" to access timely and trusted information and connections to City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.
Food and Nutrition Assistance
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, helps people with limited income buy food. Benefits are provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores. Some immigrants may be eligible for the program. Online application and renewal can be done via ACCESS HRA, the city’s online portal that allows you to apply for and manage your public benefits case. For more information about SNAP benefits and eligibility, visit the Human Resources Administration (HRA)'s webpage on SNAP or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides free healthy food and other services to low-income women and children. Visit ACCESS NYC (for Spanish, visit ACCESS NYC Español) or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.
Get Food NYC
The services listed below are provided for free to all New Yorkers no matter what your immigration status is. Undocumented immigrants can also receive these services and doing so will NOT make you a “Public Charge” or hurt your ability to apply for a green card. There is no Public Charge test when green card holders apply for citizenship.
NYC Health + Hospitals provides care to all New Yorkers, no matter what your immigration status or insurance status is. NYC Health + Hospitals will help you even if you do not have insurance and cannot pay for health care. This is true for all types of health care services, including emergency care, doctor's visits, medications, long-term care, and hospital stays. Visit NYC Health + Hospitals, or call 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) or 311.
NYC Care is a health care access program that guarantees low-cost and no-cost services offered by NYC Health + Hospitals to New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance. Visit NYCCare.nyc, or call 646-NYC-Care (646-692-2273) or 311. NYC Care is accepting new enrollments and currently available in all five boroughs.
New York City is home to many community health centers that provide medical care on a sliding-fee basis, depending on your income. This care is available to everyone, regardless of immigration status. Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) provides information on community health centers near you. Visit FindaHealthCenter.HRSA.gov or the NYC low- to no-cost care option list to find a location near you.
Community testing sites operated by NYC Health + Hospitals use self-collection of swabs to minimize contact between patients and health care workers. Free and convenient walk-in testing is now available at the following locations. No appointment is necessary. Visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find a community testing site near you.
If you are feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, connect with trained counselors at NYC Well, the City's free, confidential helpline available in 200+ languages. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text WELL to 65173, or chat online at NYC.gov/NYCWell. NYC Well’s website also offers a number of well-being and emotional support applications that can help you cope.
NY Project Hope helps people manage and cope with changes brought on by COVID-19. Call the New York State's COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 to talk to specially trained volunteer professionals. They are available to listen, support and offer referrals from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Visit nyprojecthope.org and the New York State Office of Mental Health COVID-19 Resources Webpage for more information.
Cash and Financial Assistance
FEMA Disaster Relief
FEMA can help individuals and families who have disaster-caused damages to their homes because of Hurricane Ida. FEMA can also help with other assistance needs, such as disaster-caused childcare needs, disaster medical expenses, or necessary clean-up items. Visit the FEMA - Remnants of Hurricane Ida Disaster Declaration page for frequently asked questions and additional information regarding this federal disaster declaration and available assistance.
Before you apply for assistance, below are the steps you need to take to start your recovery process:
Step One: Take photos of your damaged home and belongings.
Step Two: Make a list of damaged/lost items.
Step Three: Save yourself time. If you have insurance, you must file a claim with your insurance company.
Help for Undocumented New Yorkers
The city and state have announced $27 million is available to provide relief to undocumented survivors of the storms and flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. This relief is for those New Yorkers who have financial needs caused by Hurricane Ida, but who do not qualify for FEMA assistance because of their immigration status. This funding will be distributed through grants to an established network of community organizations and provided to New Yorkers who are not eligible to receive storm recovery assistance through the FEMA Individual Assistance Program or other means.
The application period will close on Friday, November 26, 2021. In order to qualify for this program, the applicants must a) themselves not be eligible for FEMA assistance and b) not have an individual in their household who is eligible for assistance.
The following organizations will provide assistance in New York City:
To get connected with assistance, impacted residents should call the ONA Hotline at 1-800-566-7636, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit the partner not-for-profits. Hotline assistance is available in over 200 languages.
Immigrant New Yorkers and/or their children may be eligible for cash assistance in New York. Visit ACCESS NYC (for Spanish, visit Access NYC Español) or call HRA's Infoline at 718-557-1399.
New York State Excluded Workers Fund
PLEASE NOTE: NYS Department of Labor is not accepting new applications effective 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 8. They will process applications in the order they were received.
Immigrant New Yorkers who were ineligible for other forms of unemployment insurance may be able to receive support from the New York State Excluded Workers Fund (EWF).
Applicants can apply online 24/7, and the New York State Department of Labor’s 600-person multi-lingual call center is available seven days a week, from 7 AM to 7 PM. The EWF application process utilizes state-of-the-art technology, including an EWF virtual assistant that can provide applicants with their application’s status throughout the process. Applicants can also speak with a live representative or receive a callback in 24 to 48 hours. The application and an FAQ document are available in 13 different languages on the Department of Labor’s EWF page.
Housing and Utility
Tenant Resource Portal
The New York City Tenant Resource Portal can direct you to resources on rental assistance, non-payment and holdover options, and your rights and protections as a renter. It will guide you through a series of questions and direct you to the most useful resources.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) can provide unpaid rental assistance for those who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. To find out if you qualify and apply, visit their statewide portal.
Free advice and legal counsel are available to tenants through The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants and the City’s Tenant Helpline. They can be contacted by calling 311 or filling out their Contact Us form. Additional information regarding rental assistance resources can be found on the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants’ webpage.
Small Business Support
SBA Loans and Grants
Low-interest loans are available to help businesses and homeowners recover from disasters. Physical damage loans, mitigation assistance and economic injury disaster loans are available and applications can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster assistance webpage.
Small business development centers can help you with applications for loans and grants. Visit the New York Small Business Development Center website to find the center near you.
Free assistance is available through the NYC Department of Small Business Services to understand which financial product is best suited for your needs, to review and put together documents, to calculate loan repayment terms, to connect with multiple lenders, to prepare SBA loan forgiveness documents and to understand loan payment deferment options.
Resource Fair and Information Webinars
SBS and their partners are also providing free webinars, including sessions on financial assistance and preparing your business for emergencies. These are digital webinars and you must sign up on the NYC Department of Small Business Services Eventbrite.
SBS has launched a small business hotline and can answer questions on financial assistance resources. Call 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692).
Replacing Lost or Damaged Documents
To replace lost or damaged foreign documents, such as birth certificates, passports and consular IDs, visit your local consulate. If you need help connecting with your consulate, call the MOIA hotline at 212-788-7654, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or send an email to AskMOIA@cityhall.nyc.gov.
Driver’s License (New York State)
Social Security Administration (SSA)
USCIS has announced that some immigration help may be available to those affected by natural disasters like Ida. Visit this link for more information.
For general information about replacing immigration documents, visit USCIS.gov or call 1-800-375-5283 (National Customer Service Center) or call 1-800-870-3676 (Order Forms).