; Cheryl Dinolfo, County Executive



DHS COVID-19 Information Page

Our goal is to make sure we meet the basic needs of our families during this uncertain time. See the resources below regarding:

  1. Public Assistance
  2. Emergency Assistance
  3. Temporary Housing
  4. HEAP and HERR
  5. Food
  6. Childcare

For additional information, call 2-1-1.


In an effort to reduce walk-in traffic into local Social Service District offices and ease access to public benefit programs during the current state of emergency, face-to-face interviews for Public Assistance are suspended through April 11.  

Effective with applications received after March 16, 2020, we will move to phone interviews for Public Assistance eligibility determinations. This includes applications for Emergency Assistance and Temporary Housing Assistance.  Applicants already scheduled for in person interviews the week of March 16 can contact us at 753-6960 if they would like to move to a phone interview. 

New applications received after March 16 will be scheduled for a phone interview. Applicants can drop off, mail or fax 585-753-5315 new Temporary Assistance (2921) applications to the Agency. The application should clearly mark what programs the applicant is applying for and include a valid phone number. Applications received without phone numbers will continue to be scheduled for face-to-face interviews. After the phone interview, applicants will be mailed a document requirement form with instructions to submit required documents to the agency by a designated due date. 


Applicants for Emergency Assistance will be interviewed by phone as well. Emergency Assistance applicants can drop off, mail (to 691 St. Paul St) or  fax to 585-753-5315 new Emergency Assistance (2921) applications to the Agency. The application should clearly mark that the applicant is seeking emergency assistance and include a valid phone number. We will call individuals to conduct the emergency assistance interview on the same day of the application submission and make a determination on the same day. If unable to connect with the applicant on the 1st day, we will make a second attempt on the next business day.  If additional paperwork is needed to make a decision, the applicant will be verbally advised as well as mailed a document requirement form with instructions to submit required documents to the agency by a designated due date. 


For applicants applying for Temporary Housing (THA) they will need to submit an application and we will be determining eligibility for THA via phone. THA applicants can drop off, mail or fax 585-753-5315 or by fax at 753-6078 new Emergency Assistance (2921) applications to the Agency. The application should clearly mark that the applicant is seeking temporary housing placement and include a valid phone number for us to call to facilitate a THA placement. Clients facing emergency situations may reach out to us via phone prior to a TA application being submitted and we will make a TH placement until the next business day when the shelter case manager can assist them with completing and submitting the completed application.  

Face to face recertification interviews for Temporary Assistance are also being suspended for 60 days eff March 13th, 2020. Recipients already scheduled for in person recertification interviews the week of March 16th can contact us at 753-6229 or by email :  if they would like to move to a phone interview. Any new recertifications scheduled after March 16th will be scheduled for a phone interview. Recipients will need to return the recertification guide to the agency BEFORE the scheduled phone interview can be conducted. 


Face-to-face interviews for Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) and Home Energy Repair and Replacement (HERR) assistance have also been suspended. Individuals applying for these programs should provide their application and will be contacted for a phone interview. Applications can be mailed, faxed to 585-753-6102 or dropped off to 111 Westfall Road.

We will also be suspending other non-essential appointments, including Applicant Job Search, Employment Assessments, Disability Assessment interviews and Work Experience Program orientations for 60 days. Recipients participating in assigned activities are encouraged to continue to participate if the site remains open and available, however, absences related to illness, isolation or quarantine will be considered excused and will not result in negative action. Recipients in substance use treatment as a condition of eligibility for public assistance should look to their treatment provider for guidance regarding the protocols for attendance/absences during this emergency period.

The NYS Office of Administrative Hearings has also made temporary changes to allow for phone and video conferencing for Fair Hearings. Effective with requests initiated after 3/12/20, individuals will be giventhe option for alternative hearings. Clients who already have in-person hearings scheduled will be permitted to adjourn the request or have the scheduled hearing redirected to telephone, video, or other means on the already scheduled date and time.



Federal Legislation signed on 3/18/20 may provide SNAP recipients of households with children who would otherwise receive free or reduced-price meals if not for their schools being closed additional, supplemental  emergency benefits. These supplemental benefits will be issued when additional guidance from the State and Federal government is received. Due to the volume of requests expected, we are prioritizing households that have not received SNAP in March, but all requests will be addressed.

Individuals in need of a benefit cards should call 585-753-6006 for a card to be mailed to them within 24 hours. 

School Districts Outside of Monroe County

Families outside of the City of Rochester who are eligible for free or reduced meals should also check with their local school district to find out more information on food distribution in your district.

City of Rochester R-Centers

The City of Rochester and Foodlink are providing pre-packaged breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, at the following city R-Centers and schools between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.:

  • Adams Street R-Center, 85 Adams St.
  • Avenue D R-Center, 200 Avenue D
  • Carter Street R-Center, 500 Carter St.
  • Tyshaun Cauldwell R-Center, 524 Campbell
  • Frederick Douglass R-Center, 990 South Ave.
  • Flint Street R-Center, 271 Flint St.
  • David Gantt R-Center, 700 North St.
  • Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center (Clinton-Baden), 465 N. Clinton Ave.
  • Thomas Ryan R-Center, 530 Webster Ave.
  • East Upper & Lower School, 1801 E. Main St.
  • Dr. Freddy Thomas Campus, 625 Scio St.
  • The former Jefferson High School, 1 Edgerton Pk.
  • James Monroe High School, 164 Alexander St.
  • John Williams School No. 5, 555 Plymouth Ave.
  • Wilson Foundation Academy, 200 Genesee St.


Childcare Applications

How to fill out Childcare Assistance Application

Current childcare subsidy recipients with school age children are eligible to have their care authorizations updated to include full time care during the day while school is out if their provider can accommodate them. Families in need of such, can contact us by email at :

For families not currently in receipt of subsidy, childcare eligibility certificates can be provided to allow for use of subsidy to pay for childcare by eligible providers during school closures. Families must provide the childcare application (6025) as well as proof of employment for consideration. Applications can be emailed to or faxed to 585-753-6308. 

Temporary Absence Payment Policy for Providers

MCDHS will make subsidy payments to the following eligible providers during the recovery period on behalf of a child who is temporarily absent from child care due to extenuating circumstances due to the effects of COVID-19. The maximum total number of paid absences will be 14 days through April 15th 2020. Payment of absences will apply to the following program types: Day Care Center, Group Family Day Care, Family Day Care, Legally-Exempt Group and School Age Child Care.


Child Support

Applications for Child Support can be mailed or emailed to the Child Support Unit at 33 N. Fitzhugh St. 14614. Parents needing assistance with child support issues are encouraged to call the Child Support hotline at 888-208-4485 or by email at : 

Walk-ins will be seen on a scheduled basis only. Please call 585-753-1453 to schedule an appointment.

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