General Needs Loans 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.

Currently, all loans have a three-month grace period before repayments begin; however, loans for any applications received on or after July 1, 2022 will have a one-month grace period. Repayments are 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
  • Persons who currently have an outstanding HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an outstanding 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.

From the borrower:

  • Online Loan Application submitted by the applicant and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The General Needs Loan online application can be found here.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the borrower and their spouse or partner, if relevant (e.g. driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the borrower’s current address, HFLS may require proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or account statement).
  • Bank document that includes the borrower’s name, checking account number, and routing number. This may be a voided check, a screenshot from your online banking portal, or another bank document.

From the guarantors:

  • Online Guarantor Form submitted by the guarantor and including information for their spouse or partner, if relevant. The guarantor will receive an email including a unique link to an online Guarantor Form after the applicant submits their application.
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs for the guarantors (and their spouses or partners, if relevant), e.g. a driver’s license or U.S. passport. HFLS may ask for proof of address if the ID does not provide it.

After receiving your online loan application and guarantor forms, an HFLS Loan Officer will contact you to schedule a 15-minute loan interview (by phone).

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

Due to the high volume of loan applications received by HFLS, we ask that you please do not contact HFLS regarding the status of your loan application. A Loan Officer will reach out to you directly as soon as possible.

Loan Decisions & Closing

HFLS reviews and decides on loan applications daily. 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.

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 with loan closing documents for you to complete and sign electronically via DocuSign. The loan closing 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 electronically signed documents above, we will disburse your loan funds directly into your checking account within three business days. (Please note that it may take a few extra days after the disbursement for the loan funds to appear in your checking account.)