General legal assistance

Community Legal Services

Free legal advice and representation to low income residents of Philly. Civil cases only. No criminal cases.

Defender’s Association of Philadelphia

Represents clients in adult and juvenile state counts at civil and criminal mental health hearings, and as child advocates for children with open dependent petitions.

Face to Face Legal Center

Legal services Mon & Fri 10am-2pm; birth certificates, Thurs 10am-2pm

Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Protection from abuse services, represents victims of domestic violence from abuse cases; Mon & Wed, 10am - 12pm. Legal assistance to low-income individuals & families

Temple University Law School Legal Aid Office

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project

Provides free civil legal assistance to low-income people who are incarcerated or institutionalized in Pennsylvania whose civil constitutional rights have been violated.

Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Many locations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties

Christian Legal Services

Landlord disputes, custody cases, domestic abuse, immigration, will, criminal record expungement.

Housing services

Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP)

Provides free legal representation for Philadelphians facing housing, family, and income challenges.

United Communities Southeast Philadelphia (UCSEP)

Provides assistance to renters behind on their rent and needing financial assistance to catch up.

Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project (PEPP)

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM)

Provides a range of financial and supportive services to individuals and families.

Utility Emergency Services Fund (UESF)

Philadelphia based organization. Assistance includes help with back rent for families struggling to remain in their homes.

Tenant Union Representative Network

Philadelphia-based tenant services and advocacy organization.                                   

Immigration legal services

Equal Access Legal Services

Nonprofit Philadelphia law firm. Provides low-cost or fixed-fee legal services, including immigration.

Justice at Work (formerly known as Friends of Farmworkers)

Provides legal aid not only to immigrant and migrant farmworkers, but also to low-wage workers across industries.

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania

Immigration, bankruptcy, employment, & family law

Catholic Social Services

Comprehensive high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services

Esperanza Immigration Legal Services

Non-litigation legal services to low-income immigrants and their families; workshops; citizenship prep courses; they speak English, Spanish, and French.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

Legal and supportive services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from all backgrounds in order to ensure fair treatment and full integration into American society

Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program

Immigration, civil rights, employment, and family law.

Penn Law Transnational Clinic

University of Pennsylvania legal clinic - international human rights and immigration

Emergency Housing and Shelters

Please note: Before you are placed in an emergency shelter, you are required to complete an initial assessment to determine your housing needs at a central intake service center.

What to expect during your initial intake appointment


Step 1:  Visit or contact the site to make an appointment for your initial assessment

You may contact these intake centers (we've listed them below) over the phone to schedule an appointment or drop-in, but you will have to complete the intake assessment at the site, in-person. During your intake process, you will need to bring: 

  1. Proof of identification for self 
  2. If applicable, you will need to provide documentation for proof of guardianship of minor children
  3. Photo I.D., Social Security Card and Birth Certificates for all dependent children

Step 2: Intake Process

What to expect: 

  1. You will complete a COVID-19 screening (questions and/or complete temperature check)
  2. A social service representative will inquire about personal information that will be used for HMIS (Homeless Management Information System).
  • Information may include : birthdate, social security number, family composition, race, etc.
  • This information will also be used to complete an intake log sheet.

Step 3: Placement 

Depending on your case, a social worker will inquire about your specific situation to determine whether you have the financial ability to pay for alternative housing for the evening, whether you are able to be accommodated by a friend or family member for the night, or whether emergency housing is the best option.

If placed in a shelter:

  1. You will let the staff know of any medication you are prescribed or may need during your stay. It is best to have at least a five-day supply of necessary medications. 
  2. You may bring up to two bags of clothing or personal items with you to a shelter

Central intake centers that you can contact during normal business hours (Monday- Friday from 7 a.m.- 5 p.m)


Appletree Family Center

Roosevelt Darby Center 

After Hours Intake Centers (Nights, Weekends, and Holidays)


Salvation Army Red Shield Family Residence - For Families

Guadenzia’s House of Passage (Kirkbride Center) - For single women, including pregnant women with or without children

Special Circumstances

For those experiencing domestic or sexual violence

  • Apple Tree Family Center intake center is equipped with an on-site domestic violence specialist (at Appletree Family Center only). If you do not complete your intake at this site, you will be referred there. During this time, you will complete a lethality assessment and safety plan as well as request an emergency housing placement.

For those who need language support and may require interpretation services:  

  • At intake appointments, if you need interpretation services, these services will be available to you. As needed, there may be printed materials in English and your native language.