General Needs Loan Overview


The General Needs Loan Program provides interest-free loans of up to $5,000 to low- and moderate-income residents of New York City’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island to help fund significant expenses that borrowers cannot meet with their own resources or to help bridge a period of unexpected income loss.

HFLS Income Limits

Household Size 1 person 2 person 3 person 4 person 5 person 6 person 7 person 8 person
Household Income 76,820 87,860 98,785 109,710 118,565 127,305 136,045 144,900

Loans are repayable in 20 monthly installments of $250 beginning one month after the loan is received. Monthly loan payments are made by electronic debit of a checking account.

Guarantor Information

Two guarantors are required for all loans, and both guarantors must complete and sign Guarantor Forms. A married couple is considered one guarantor. If a guarantor is married, his or her spouse must also complete and sign the Guarantor Form.  

Each guarantor is “jointly” and “severally” liable for the loan in the event you are unable to pay for any reason. This means that, while HFLS would expect each guarantor to share equally in the responsibility of repaying the loan, each is liable legally for the full amount, and any one guarantor could be called upon to repay the balance due.

Guarantors must meet the following criteria:

  • US citizens or legal residents currently living in NYC’s five boroughs, Westchester, or Long Island
  • Have a checking account, good credit, and total family income of at least $30,000 a year
  • Currently employed (HFLS prefers persons who have worked at least one year in their present position)

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

  • Persons living in the same household as the borrower
  • Persons who currently have an HFLS loan or are a guarantor on an HFLS loan
  • Pulpit Clergy (clergy are often asked to guarantee due to their high visibility within their community; this rule, therefore, exists for their own protection)
  • Persons who are unable to repay the loan

Loan Documents & Interview

The documents below are required for a General Needs Loan. Once you have completed or collected all the documents below and have all necessary signatures, contact the HFLS office at (212) 687-0188 to set up an in-person loan interview. Please bring the following documents with you to your scheduled interview.

From the borrower:

  • Loan Application, completed and signed by the borrower (and their spouse, if they are married). (Download the Application Form at the bottom of this page.)
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures and serve as proof of address for the borrower and their spouse (e.g. driver’s license). If the driver’s license does not include the borrower’s current address, HFLS will require proof of residency (e.g. a utility bill or account statement).
  • Voided check for the borrower’s checking account.

From the guarantors (guarantors may choose to send these documents directly to HFLS):

  • Guarantor Forms, completed and signed by the guarantors and their spouses, if they are married. (Download the Guarantor Forms at the bottom of this page.)
  • Copies of government-issued photo IDs that include signatures for the guarantors and their spouses, 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. 

All applicants must have a brief, in-person loan interview with an HFLS Loan Officer. The documents listed above should be submitted to HFLS before or at the loan interview.

During the loan interview, an HFLS Loan Officer will review your application and other required documents with you, ask any relevant questions, determine whether any additional information is needed, and answer any questions you have about HFLS and the rest of the loan application process (described below).

You can select the location of your interview: At our Manhattan office (675 Third Ave at 42nd Street), where we conduct interviews from 9-5 pm Monday through Thursday, or at the Shorefront Y or Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, where we have loan interviews in the evenings once a month.

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.

You will receive information within approximately two weeks of your interview advising you whether your loan has been approved. 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, the information you receive will contain instructions to complete the final loan paperwork. You may deliver original signed copies of the final loan paperwork to HFLS by regular mail or in person at our Manhattan office; copies will not be accepted. The final loan paperwork includes:

  • A Promissory Note, to be signed by the borrower, guarantors, and all spouses
  • An ACH authorization form, so monthly loan payments can be withdrawn automatically from your checking account (you may complete this form at your loan interview instead)

Required Forms Download