General Needs Loan Overview


The General Needs Loan Program provides interest-free loans of up to $7,500 to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to support expenses that borrowers cannot meet with their own resources or to help bridge a period of unexpected income loss.

Loan applicants must have annual pre-tax household income at or below the income limit for their household size. If your annual pre-tax household income is slightly above the limit in the chart below, please contact Loan@HFLS.org to speak with a Loan Officer about your specific situation; you may still qualify for an HFLS loan.

HFLS income guidelines. Contact loan@hfls.org for more info.

Loans of $5,000 or less are repayable in installments of $250 per month over 20 months. Loans of more than $5,000 are repayable in installments of $300 per month over 25 months.

All loans have a three-month grace period before repayments begin. Repayments will be made on either the 5th or the 20th of each month; borrowers select their preference before HFLS disburses the loan. All loan repayments are made by electronic debit of a checking account.

Guarantor Information

One guarantor is required for all General Needs Loans, and the guarantor must complete and sign a Guarantor Form. A married couple is considered one guarantor. If a guarantor is married, his or her spouse must also complete and sign the Guarantor Form.  

The guarantor and their spouse are liable for the loan in the event a borrower is unable to pay for any reason.

Guarantors must meet the following criteria:

  • US citizens or permanent residents currently living in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut
  • Have a checking account, good credit, and annual pre-tax household income of at least $30,000 a year
  • Currently employed (HFLS prefers persons who have worked at least one year in their present position), or if retired, can demonstrate their ability to repay through pension/retirement income or assets.

Even if they meet the requirements above, the following people may not guarantee a loan:

  • You, your spouse, or your dependents
  • Currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Persons who are financially unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The information and documents below are required for a General Needs Loan. Once you have completed all of the below, email Loan@HFLS.org or call (212) 687-0188 to schedule a 15-minute loan interview with an HFLS Loan Officer, which will be conducted via phone or video call (Zoom). Please submit the required documents listed below to HFLS prior to your interview, either by uploading them with your online application or emailing them to Loan@HFLS.org.

From the borrower:

  • Loan Application completed by the applicant and including information for their spouse, if they are married. A link to the General Needs Loan online application appears at the bottom of this page.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the applicant and their spouse (e.g. driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the applicant’s current address, HFLS will require proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or account statement).
  • A bank document that includes ALL of the following: The applicant’s name, the bank name, the bank routing number, and the applicant’s checking account number.

From the guarantors:

  • Guarantor Form completed by the guarantor and including information for their spouse, if they are married. NOTE: The guarantor will receive a link to an online Guarantor Form after the applicant submits their application.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs for the guarantor and their spouse, if they are married (e.g. driver’s license or U.S. passport).

Failure to submit these documents will delay the processing of your application. 

Once you have submitted the online application, an HFLS Loan Officer will contact you within three business days with any questions and to schedule a 15-minute loan interview (conducted over the phone).

During the interview, an HFLS Loan Officer will review your application and other required documents with you, determine whether any additional information is needed, and answer any questions you have.

Loan Decisions & Closing

HFLS reviews and decides on loan applications weekly. If we have questions about your application or guarantor, you may receive a call or email from a Loan Officer asking for further information before HFLS will make its decision.

It can take as little as one week for HFLS to approve and disburse your loan – the timeline depends entirely on your ability to provide HFLS with the required documents and information, schedule your loan interview, and sign the loan closing paperwork.

HFLS, in its discretion, may decline to make a loan, make a loan in an amount less than that requested, or require different or additional guarantors.

If your loan is approved, you will receive an email that contains instructions to electronically complete and sign the loan closing paperwork. The final loan paperwork includes:

  • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower, guarantor, and all spouses
  • An Authorization of Automatic Payments (ACH) form, so the loan funds can be transferred directly into your checking account and so HFLS can withdraw monthly loan repayments directly from your checking account.

Once HFLS receives the signed documents above, we will electronically transfer your loan funds directly into your checking account within three business days. (Please note that it may take a few days after the disbursement for the loan funds to appear in your checking account.)