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Emergency Services - Apply

Newly located Emergency Services Application Intake unitCOVID-19 Update

  • COVID-19 Update:  For client and employee safety, we are practicing social distancing, reducing face-to-face contact as much as possible.  You have additional options for submitting your application and you are temporarily not required to be interviewed face-to-face.
    • Applications for Emergency Assistance may be (1) faxed to: 716-858-6852, (2) mailed to: Erie County Department of Social Services, Unit FA6/75000, P.O. Box 120, Buffalo NY 14201-0120, or (3) submitted on the 1st floor of the Rath Building (158 Pearl St entrance, Erie County Work Center.   Please provide a reliable phone number on your application. An examiner will contact you over the phone to complete your eligibility interview. If you have a warrant for eviction or pending court date, please make sure to provide that documentation with your application so that we may prioritize case processing. 
    • Clients with immediate needs may still apply in person at 158 Pearl St., first floor, at the Rath Building.


  • Emergency Services provides one-time emergency grants and/or loans to eligible individuals and families, experiencing immediate or special needs, which cannot otherwise be met by ongoing Temporary Assistance or by their current income and resources. 
  • *Effective May 2023 - update -- Those applying are directed to visit the first floor of the Rath Building (158 Pearl St. entrance, Erie County Work Center) and submit applications at the newly located Emergency Services Application Intake unit, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Previously, applications had been submitted at 460 Main St. in Buffalo. For more information, Click Here
  • We value the time of social workers and service coordinators from community agencies.  If you’re planning to accompany your client or represent them directly at our office, we encourage you to contact us directly to schedule an appointment, if possible, so that we may most efficiently assist you. 
  • Specific instructions about how to apply for each type of Emergency Service is included within the "Benefit" section about that benefit type.

Having Someone Represent You

General Information

  • If you are physically unable to apply on your own, you may have someone represent you.     The person you choose may be a friend, family member, neighbor, social worker, service coordinator, or someone else you trust.   What’s important is that they are willing and able to act on your behalf, and are able to answer questions about your household, emergency, and financial situation.
  • If you cannot find someone who can assist you, there may be other options available. 
    • If you are over 60 years old, you can call Erie County Senior Services/NY Connects at 858-8526. 
    • If you or your spouse receive SSI, you may contact Erie County Adult Protective Services at 858-6877. 
  • Some types of assistance (including shelter arrears, utility arrears, security agreements, and services provided to homeowners) may require legal documents to be signed.  If your representative is not your Power of Attorney, they may be unable to legally sign this paperwork for you.   Instead, they will bring paperwork back to you, which you will sign in the presence of a Notary, and then they’ll bring the paperwork back to us before an approval may be issued.  

Documentation for Reps  

Along with common documents needed for your application, your representative should submit: 

  • Photo identification for themselves and for you.
  • Proof of your physical inability to appear in person (usually medical paperwork, but may also be employment verification, confirming your work schedule/ inability to be interviewed during regular business hours).
  • Application completed and signed by you.  If your representative is not your legal Power of Attorney they cannot sign an application on your behalf.  
  • Authorization to act on your behalf. This can be as formal as an agency consent form, Power of Attorney document, or as informal as a handwritten letter, signed by you.  Here’s a simple example of what that letter might look like:   


I, Jane Doe, allow my daughter Mary Doe to represent me in my application for moving assistance today.  I cannot come in because I am currently on bed rest after my surgery.


                                                                                                         JANE DOE


Common Documents Needed for Application

Regardless of your emergency, you will most likely need to provide the following:

  • LDSS-2921 Application, unless applying for/ receiving ongoing Temporary Assistance.   Applications are also available in languages other than English
  • Photo identification for anyone age 18 and older.
  • Birth Certificates & Social Security Cards for anyone not currently receiving ongoing TA or SNAP benefits.
  • Immigration Status, if not a US Citizen (I-94, Permanent Resident Card, Employment Authorization, etc).
  • Income, which may include your last 4 weeks’ pay stubs, or monthly statements for things like Social Security, child support, workers compensation, or disability insurance. 
    • If you will be starting a new job, you can provide a letter from your employer confirming your start date, rate of pay, hours per week, and date of first check. 
    • If you are self-employed, you should provide proof of your most recent 3 months’ income and expenses. 
  • Resources, which may include bank statements and retirement accounts.  
  • Residence & Household Composition, which may include a current landlord statement, lease, or collateral statements from friends, neighbors, or family members confirming where you reside and who lives with you.
  • Shelter Expense, which may include a current landlord statement or lease, and your portion letter, if you receive Section 8. 
  • Property Ownership & Expenses, which may include a deed, monthly mortgage statement, county and local taxes, homeowner’s insurance, user fee, sewer and water bills. 

Our Benefits section describes what additional documentation you may need, based on your specific emergency.