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Apr 26, 2023 | April Xu

Free Services in NYC: Childcare, Mental Health, Housing and More

Regardless of your immigration status, you can access a number of free resources and services, including immigration legal assistance, English learning, and more.

阅读中文版: 纽约市面向所有移民的免费市政服务及资源概览

In New York City, regardless of your immigration status, you can access a number of free resources and services, including immigration legal assistance, English learning, medical care, and more. You also have rights in areas such as immigration fraud prevention, immigration enforcement, labor, reporting discrimination, domestic violence prevention, as well as tenant and consumer protection. Below is an overview of NYC free services and resources for immigrants, compiled by Documented.

Please note that specific programs and eligibility requirements may change over time, and it is best to check with the appropriate municipal department for the latest information. Please refer to our general guide for more resources and services for immigrants.

Language Access: New York City provides language services to help immigrants and individuals with limited English proficiency access city services and programs. These services include written translations and in-person or telephonic interpretation for any person requiring assistance. Anyone in need of language support can call 212-669-7817 or email access@lpc.nyc.gov. If you have not received adequate language services, you can submit a complaint to access@lpc.nyc.gov or call 311 and say “language access” to register a complaint. More details can be found on this page.

Health Care: New York City provides free or low-cost health care options to uninsured or underinsured individuals, including immigrants. The New York City public hospital system (NYC Health + Hospitals) can provide urgent care, primary health care, physical exams, immunizations, etc. To make an appointment, call 1-844-NYC-4NYC (1-844-692-4692) for contact info for the medical center closest to you.

If you are not eligible to purchase health insurance, the NYC Care program provides comprehensive low-cost or free health care services to eligible New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. Call 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-2273) or visit nyccare.nyc or any public hospital to speak with a financial counselor.

In addition, Emergency Medicaid can help low-income immigrants and undocumented immigrants in New York City pay for medical expenses in emergencies. New York City immigrants who qualify for Emergency Medicaid can also apply for NYC Care to cover medical costs in non-emergency situations.

Housing Assistance: NYC Housing Preservation and Development offers a variety of programs and resources to help immigrants find affordable housing, including Rental and Down Payment Assistance programs and information about tenants’ rights.

Employment Assistance: NYC Small Business Services provides free services to help immigrants and other job seekers find jobs, including professional training, resume revision and job placement services in the restaurant, medical, building and construction industries, among others.

Education and Literacy Programs: The New York Public Library offers free English classes and literacy programs to help immigrants improve their language skills and access educational resources. The content includes multilingual books, newspapers, multimedia materials, English courses, workshops, employment services, naturalization resources and programs, etc. If you want to learn English for free anytime, anywhere, visit wespeaknyc.cityofnewyork.us to learn more.

Legal Services: ActionNYC, a City-sponsored program with consultation spots in community-based organizations, hospitals, and schools, provides free and free immigration legal help. Regardless of immigration status, you can get a free comprehensive legal screening to find out if you have relevant immigration eligibility. In addition, people can get legal help and case referrals related to naturalization, green card application and renewal, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and others. The program provides multilingual services and is confidential throughout. For details, please log on to this webpage, or call the citizen hotline 311 and say “ActionNYC.”

Financial Counseling: The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection offers free financial counseling services to help immigrants, other New Yorkers, and small businesses manage their finances, improve their credit scores, and avoid financial scams and fraud. You can log on to this website or call 311 to make an appointment. Additionally, the department offers free tax filing services to eligible New Yorkers.

Cultural and Community Events: New York City celebrates the diversity of its immigrant community with a variety of cultural and community events throughout the year, such as the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month parade, Fourth of July fireworks, and more. These events allow immigrants to network with others from similar backgrounds and learn about different cultures and traditions. In addition, if you have a library card, you can reserve a Culture Pass, which allows you to visit dozens of cultural institutions and facilities, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Asia Society and Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, for free.

Emergency Food Assistance: More than 500 food pantries and community kitchens in New York City provide free emergency food assistance to the public. Those in need can log on to this webpage to search for food pantries and community kitchens near you or call 311 and say “Emergency Food Assistance.”

IDNYC: The IDNYC program provides government-issued identification to all city residents, regardless of immigration status. This card can be used to enter New York City facilities, including libraries, parks, and cultural institutions, and can also be used as identification for various purposes. Interested readers can read our IDNYC application guide for details.

Child Care Services: The NYC Administration for Children’s Services provides immigrant families with a range of services, including immigrant legal assistance, public welfare services, health care, education, and support for survivors of crime and violence. The administration can provide legal assistance with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), U visa, or T visa. Please visit this page for details.

Public Education: Public schools are available to all children ages 4-21 in New York City. To enroll, visit schools.nyc.gov/fwc or call 311.

Emergencies: In case of emergencies, please dial 911. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department, or ambulance. According to the law, the NYPD will not ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who seek help.

Mental Health: For confidential services about mental health care and addiction resources, call 888-692-9355 / 988, text WELL to 65173, or visit https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/.

Labor Rights: Under New York City law, you are entitled to paid safe and sick leaves, minimum wage, overtime pay, etc. Visit nyc.gov/workers for resources, or call 212-436-0381.

Consumer Protection: You are entitled to the corresponding rights as a consumer. To file a complaint about a business, visit nyc.gov/consumers or call 311.

Tenant Rights: If you need help with any eviction or landlord-related issues, visit the Tenant Support Unit page to learn more about the Tenant Helpline and other services or call 311 and say “tenant helpline” for free legal help. The hotline has recently launched a new live call system, where tenants can call during working hours and be connected directly to a live operator for assistance.

Right to Shelter Access: If you are homeless, you can ask to be sheltered. Homeless shelter services are available by visiting a Department of Homeless Services shelter. For more information, call 311. If you are an immigrant needing a homeless shelter, you can read our guide to accessing emergency shelters. If you are an asylum seeker, you can read our guide for asylum seekers.

Report Discrimination: Harassment and discrimination are illegal under New York City Human Rights Law. To report incidents of discrimination, file a complaint at https://www.nyc.gov/site/cchr/about/report-discrimination.page or call 212-416-0197.

Domestic Violence Prevention: If you are experiencing domestic violence, New York City can help. You can visit nyc.gov/nychope or call the NYC Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-HOPE.

Reporting Immigration Fraud: If you need immigration legal advice, you should find a licensed attorney or certified legal representative. You can find a list of officially accredited and accredited legal service providers at nyc.gov/immigrants.

Immigration Enforcement: New York City does not conduct immigration enforcement. You have rights if you are approached by federal immigration enforcement agents. Visit nyc.gov/knowyourrights or call the NYC toll-free immigrant legal hotline at 800-354-0365.

General City Resources and Information: For City resources or to report concerns, call 311 or visit portal https://portal.311.nyc.gov/.

NYC Immigrant Affairs Hotline: If having questions regarding immigration matters, you can call the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs hotline at 212-788-7654 or email askmoia@cityhall.nyc.gov. The hotline is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Please note that eligibility requirements and availability of the above services may vary based on individual circumstances and immigration status. Immigrants are advised to contact the appropriate city department or nonprofit organization to learn more about specific services and resources available to you.

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