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Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) are the conditions where you are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect your health and quality of life. They include: 

  • Safe housing and transportation 
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence 
  • Schools, jobs, and income 
  • Access to healthy food and ways to stay active 
  • Language and literacy skills 

Fidelis Care has been focused on supporting our local communities by addressing Social Determinants of Health.

How we make a difference

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Learn more about different Social Determinants of Health and find resources below:

Food Assistance / Pantries

It is important that people have access to nutritious food to stay healthy. Food insecurity happens when people have limited access to food. It is associated with poorer health and a greater risk of chronic illness.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps people buy healthy food when money is tight. It used to be known as “food stamps.” 

Regional food banks distribute food to local emergency food relief organizations across New York State. Find your regional food bank on an interactive map of New York State to get help.

Additional Resources:

  • FeedMore WNY: Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua counties;
  • Foodlink: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties;
  • Food Bank of the Southern Tier: Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties;
  • Food Bank of Central New York: Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties;
  • Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York: Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, and Washington counties;
  • Feeding Westchester: Westchester County;
  • Long Island Cares: Nassau and Suffolk counties;
  • Island Harvest: Nassau and Suffolk counties;
  • Food Bank for New York City: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, New York (Manhattan), and Richmond (Staten Island) counties;
  • City Harvest: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, New York (Manhattan), and Richmond (Staten Island) counties;

Departments of Social Services

New York State is divided into 58 local social services districts. County Departments of Social Services (DSS) provide or administer the full range of publicly funded social services and cash assistance programs. 

Search for your local Department of Social Services at

Housing and Heating Assistance

Having safe and affordable housing is key to people’s health, including their mental health. People who do not have stable housing are more likely to experience stress, anxiety, or other mental health symptoms. Housing assistance programs help people find and maintain affordable housing. A free service,, helps people list and find affordable, accessible homes and apartments across New York State.

It is important to stay warm in the winter and cool during the summer to keep from getting sick. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps eligible New Yorkers pay the cost of heating their homes. For more information, visit

Additional Resources:

• NYC Department of Homeless Services:

• Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program: Enables the lowest income households in New York State to rent or purchase decent, safe housing in the private housing market by providing rental and homeownership assistance. The program also provides assistance to senior citizens and disabled persons on fixed incomes, displaced families, and homeless individuals with disabilities.

• NYC Rental Assistance:

• Housing Options for Older Adults:

Transportation Resources

People need transportation to get to doctor appointments, supermarkets, jobs, and social gatherings. Many public transportation systems offer discounts for older New Yorkers. New York City, for example, has reduced fares for subway and buses. Residents 65 and older must show their Medicare card or other proof of age to obtain a Reduced Fare Metro Card. For information, contact the New York City Department for the Aging at 311. To determine if you can get discounts, contact your local office for the aging.

Additional Resources: 

• Office for the Aging: Some local offices for the aging and senior centers offer transportation to doctor appointments, nutrition sites, shopping or other vital destinations. Contact your local office for the aging or senior center to find out what may be available in your area;

Mental Health Resources
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. There are many community support services available.


• Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: If your life or someone else's is in imminent danger, please call 911.

•988: 988 is the new, three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). It is a free service available to everyone, nationwide. It is a direct connection to caring support for anyone in mental health distress. This may include: thoughts of suicide, substance use crisis, or emotional distress. Contact 988 by chat, text, or phone. Support is available in Spanish by pressing 2. Interpretation services are available in over 150 languages.

• Crisis Text Line: New York State has partnered with Crisis Text Line, an anonymous texting service available 24/7. Starting a conversation is easy. Text GOT5 to 741741.

• OASAS HOPEline: New York State’s 24/7 problem gambling and chemical dependency hotline. For Help and Hope call 1-877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY

• Domestic Violence: If you or someone else is in a relationship is being controlled by another individual through verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, or other tactics, please call: 1-800-942-6906

• NYC Well: NYC Well provides free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health, and substance use support, information and referrals. You can reach the toll-free help line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text, and online chat. Behavioral health professionals there can link you to the services you need. To contact NYC Well, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355), TTY: 711.

•, provides resources for New Yorkers with any kind of mental health need and is a comprehensive hub with helplines and services that offer a range of free, direct support to meet the diverse needs.

Employment Assistance

Having a regular job helps people’s health and well-being by providing a regular source of income, social connections, and a sense of worth and purpose. For many people, finding employment opportunities can be hard. New York State’s Department of Labor offers resources for job seekers at

Additional Resources:

NYC Employment & Training Coalition (NYCETC):

Career Centers Across New York State:

Social Isolation and Support for the Aging

Social isolation and loneliness are important social determinants of health. They mainly impact older people, and can lead to problems with physical and mental health, quality of life, and longevity. Many communities offer support services to engage older people and help fight loneliness. New York State's Office for the Aging provides many programs and services.

In addition, there is a local office for the aging in every county in New York State (New York City has one office that covers all 5 boroughs). The agency can help individuals access a variety of services and benefits, or can provide direction to the appropriate agency or organization for help. Search for county offices of the aging at:

Additional Resources

  • New York State Office for the Aging
  • Benefits Checkup   – A service of The National Council on Aging helps seniors with limited income and resources to find benefits programs that help them pay for prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities, and other needs.
  • Eldercare Locator   – The first step to finding resources for older adults in any U.S. community. A public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging
  • Lotsa Helping Hands – An online tool for caregivers; assists in arranging for transportation, meals, etc. An intuitive interface- no training required.

Three pictures showing social determinants of health: fresh vegetables, people on bus, and people moving in to new home

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