Admit It, New Yorkers, You’re Financially Struggling

Of course New York City is an expensive town, but HOW expensive? You can plug in different cities on this website to compare. It’s not pretty, you guys. What’s more, a Business Insider article from August of 2015 posited that a single person would need to make about $40,000 to meet cost of living needs in NYC. Many New Yorkers do not meet that threshold amount — more than one third of us, according to this article. If you are struggling to make ends meet, I want you to know you’re not alone. Also, it’s not you; CAPITALISM IS THE PROBLEM. So until the workers revolt and we secure a living wage, please consider some or all of the resources listed below.

Food Assistance

The USDA defines food insecurity as a state in which “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Food insecurity is a reality for many New Yorkers, who face tough decisions like filling a prescription versus shopping for fresh fruit and veggies. According to the Food Bank for New York City:

The average income for NYC households accessing emergency food that have employed members is $1,507 per month.

If this sounds like you, do not feel ashamed to utilize these services — they are there for you.

The Food Bank for New York City offers multiple resources, including free income tax services. Also, check out City Harvest’s Healthy Neighborhoods and their other city-wide food programs. And here’s Hunger Volunteer’s Food Finder. Simply plug in your zip code to find emergency food services near you.

Social Services

NYC Social Services webpage is a launchpad for myriad city-sponsored programs, ranging from food assistance, financial services, housing matters, and even free tax prep. You can also drill down on their NYC Human Resources Administration page. And don’t miss the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The Robin Hood Foundation has a singular mission: to end poverty in New York. Take a look at their grant recipients to see if any of them match your needs.

Health and Mental Hygiene Services

Just because we have the Affordable Care Act (for now) doesn’t mean that medical treatment is actually affordable. For many Americans, an expensive and unforeseen medical emergency can make the difference between getting by and bankruptcy.

NYU Langone keeps a list of Free and Low Cost Health Resources in NYC, and here are Free Clinics for the Uninsured and another site with Free and Low-Cost Clinics.

There are also several LGBTQ-friendly health services: Callen-Lorde, GMHC, and Housing Works are all long-running and well-respected providers of free or low-cost services to the LGBTQ community.

Here’s a NYC.gov listing of Sexual Health Clinics.

And don’t forget your mental health! NOW-NYC and Weill Cornell’s Center for Human Rights both offer extensive mental health resources. I also highly recommend The Fifth Avenue Counseling Center, a rare not-for-profit.

And if you insist that your therapist not only be queer-friendly, but also a member of the community, there’s an app or two for that.

Legal Services

Sometimes you simply cannot DIY and need to call in the calvary — and by calvary I mean lawyer. The NYC Bar Association provides referrals for attorneys and also offers Monday Night Law, a community program that provides free consultations with volunteer lawyer.

You can also seek the pro bono and/or low-cost services of Legal Aid or the Court Square Law Project.

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