Notice of Public Hearing
NYC Human Resources Administration
NYC Dads
Inform NYC
Get Your ID
ACCESSNYC
Contracts and Procurement

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who does DHS serve?
  2. Where can New Yorkers apply for shelter?
  3. What documents are required to apply?
  4. How does the application process work for families who are seeking shelter?
  5. If I encounter an individual on the streets that I believe to be homeless, how can I help?
  6. What do I do if I’m being evicted or know someone who is?
  7. Who can I call if I’m experiencing domestic or community violence or know someone who is?
  8. How does DHS decide where to open shelters?
  9. Why is employment such an integral part of the agency’s work? How can you expect people to get jobs in such a difficult economic climate?
  10. How can I volunteer and/or get more involved with DHS clients?
  11. Why are homelessness prevention efforts so important to the agency?
  12. How does DHS promote security on-site?
  13. Is there any assistance available for people who are experiencing homelessness in New York City, but have housing options available in other locales?
  14. Why does DHS no longer offer housing subsidies to clients in shelter?
  15. How is DHS different from other homelessness organizations across the nation?

1. Who does DHS serve?

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) tailors services to a variety of different populations of clients. While we work with households in the community to prevent homelessness before it begins, we also provide temporary emergency shelter to the following groups:

Families with Children

  • Families with children younger than 18 years of age
  • Pregnant Women
  • Families with a pregnant woman

Adult Families

  • Families that do not include children younger than 18 years of age, including adult siblings, couples, etc.

Single Adults

  • Single adult men
  • Single adult women

In addition, DHS also serves New Yorkers who are living unsheltered on the streets. Outreach teams are deployed 24 hours per day, seven days a week, Citywide to engage these individuals and encourage them to move into housing.

[back to top]


2. Where can New Yorkers apply for shelter?
DHS tailors services to a variety of different populations of clients. Before any New Yorker can enter shelter, they must first apply at the intake center that is designated for his or her family composition. Families with children, adult families, and single adults should apply at the locations listed below.

Families with Children
Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH)
151 E. 151st Street
Bronx, NY 10451

Adult Families
Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC)
400-430 E. 30th Street
New York, NY 10016

Single Adult Men
30th Street Intake Center
400-430 E. 30th Street
New York, NY 10016

Single Adult Women
HELP Women's Shelter
116 Williams Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

OR

Franklin Shelter
1122 Franklin Avenue
Bronx, NY 10456

[back to top]


3. What documents are required to apply?
All families and individuals applying for shelter must have valid original identification, such as a welfare ID card, green card, driver's license, passport/visa, or picture employment card. If clients do not have a picture ID, documents such as a birth certificate, social security card, Medicaid card, identity card in the public assistance system, or pay stub may generally be used to prove their identities.

In addition, all applicants should also bring documents that demonstrate proof of their recent places of residency. As such, it is always useful if clients are able to bring documents such as eviction papers or marshal's notice, leases, Con Edison or telephone bills, pay stubs, or proof of income.

[back to top]


4. How does the application process work for families who are seeking shelter?
Families with children seeking shelter must apply at the Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH) family intake center in the Bronx. There, they will first be interviewed by a Human Resources Administration (HRA) caseworker, who will ask questions about their living situation and explain the services that may help them avoid shelter altogether-including family mediation, anti-eviction legal services, out-of-city relocation assistance, Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FEPS), or a one-shot deal through HRA.

If it is determined that these services do not apply to a family's specific circumstances, they will be interviewed by a family worker to find out whether they are eligible for shelter. Families may be assigned a conditional shelter placement while DHS investigates whether they have any available housing options besides shelter. Conditional placements may last for up to 10 days, while field specialists visit the homes of family, friends, and people with whom the family resided to verify information provided during the interview. Out of this investigation, families are determined eligible or ineligible for shelter, based on whether they have fully completed the application and have no other place to go.

Every household has a right to a legal conference at PATH if they are found ineligible and disagree with the decision. In addition, they have 60 days after being found ineligible to request a Fair Hearing from New York State. DHS' findings of eligibility have been upheld 98 percent at these hearings.

Again, the eligibility process is designed to ensure that resources are being preserved for those in need, and that families with housing alternatives can remain stably housed in the community.

[back to top]


5. If I encounter an individual on the streets that I believe to be homeless, how can I help?

If you see someone you believe to be street homeless, the best course of action is submit the information via 311 Online. By calling the hotline and reporting the presence of that individual, you will be helping our outreach teams offer services to that person.
Learn more about outreach

In addition, please be advised that providing food and/or money to individuals living on the streets may have the unintended consequence of sustaining their state of homelessness. We ask New Yorkers to refrain from such hand-outs and instead call 311.

[back to top]


6. What do I do if I'm being evicted or know someone who is?
The New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) can assist tenants who have legal possession of an apartment, or applicants who have been evicted but whose landlords are willing to continue renting the apartment, by paying their arrears through a rental arrears grant.

Additionally, if you are facing eviction, you may receive assistance through the Homebase homelessness prevention network.

Dial 311 to contact the HRA Job Center in your area to apply for a rental arrears grant, or to locate the nearest Homebase office.

[back to top]


7. Who can I call if I'm experiencing domestic or community violence or know someone who is?

The Human Resources Administration's (HRA) Office of Domestic Violence provides social services and emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence. To protect the victims, the shelters' locations are kept confidential.

Dial 311 to access the following hotlines:

  • NYC 24-Hour Hotline
  • Spanish-speaking 24-Hour Hotline
  • Hearing Impaired 24-Hour Hotline
  • Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project

For more information, visit HRA's website

[back to top]


8. How does DHS decide where to open shelters?
DHS has a legal mandate to provide shelter for families and individuals who do not have housing alternatives available to them. To achieve this aim, we maintain an open-ended Request for Proposal (RFP) process, which allows the agency to expand and contract as needed, based on capacity needs. Through this RFP, nonprofit providers can submit proposals at any time to be evaluated. If accepted, these proposals move forward and the site is opened.
Learn more

We do not target any specific area or neighborhood when we are looking to bring more units on-line. Instead, we simply explore the sites that have been made available to us by our nonprofit social services providers.

[back to top]


9. Why is employment such an integral part of the agency's work? How can you expect people to get jobs in such a difficult economic climate?

With the elimination of the City's only rental subsidy program for clients in shelter, DHS is focused on employment and work supports as the best path toward regaining independent living in the community. Even throughout the economic downturn, clients in shelter continue to obtain and maintain jobs. In Calendar Year 2013, the City's Human Resources Administration (HRA) made 7,000 employment placements for New Yorkers in shelter.

Partnering with HRA and other local, state, and federal agencies, we will continue to connect clients with public benefits and resources that-when paired with employment-will help them exit shelter as quickly as possible and achieve long-term stability in the community.

[back to top]


10. How can I volunteer and/or get more involved with DHS clients?

Every January, thousands of volunteers are needed to conduct the City's annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE). By participating in the one-night survey, you will help the City allocate resources to where they are needed most.
Learn more about HOPE

For an array of other volunteer opportunities around the city, please visit NYC Service

[back to top]


11. Why are homelessness prevention efforts so important to the agency?
DHS feels that New Yorkers are best served in their communities and strives to prevent homelessness whenever possible through the Homebase prevention network. Through the program, the agency assists families and individuals in overcoming immediate housing problems that could result in becoming homeless, and helps clients develop plans for long-term housing stability. Program services are crafted to meet the unique needs of each individual family and are coordinated through Homebase case managers. Visit our Homebase page for a list of services and to access a map of Homebase locations in the community.

[back to top]


12. How does DHS promote security on-site?
Last night alone, DHS provided temporary emergency shelter to more than 50,000 men, women, and children-a population larger than some small cities across the nation. DHS strives to make shelter a safe environment for all clients, so that they can receive the services they need to move back to independent living.

In 1993, DHS established Peace Officers, a group of uniformed officers, to support the agency's core mission and promote security within City-run and contracted facilities. Over the years, this group has not only been highly effective at keeping order, but also has revolutionized methods of policing within a social services framework. Living by the motto, "policing with compassion," DHS' Peace Officers must regularly balance law enforcement duties with a helping hand or friendly smile-understanding that clients in shelter are often households in crisis.

With more than 400 Peace Officers working on-site at shelters throughout the City, DHS clients and staff alike benefit from the group's dedication, professionalism, and expertise.

[back to top]


13. Is there any assistance available for people who are experiencing homelessness in New York City, but have housing options available in other locales?
Yes. Through Project Reconnect, DHS provides one-way travel assistance by train, bus, or airline to clients who are experiencing homelessness in New York, and who have housing options or employment opportunities available to them in other cities (domestic or international). The program is voluntary, and often can help families or individuals return to their hometowns, where they have pre-established networks of support.
Download the Project Reconnect brochure (in PDF)

[back to top]


14. Why does DHS no longer offer housing subsidies to clients in shelter?
The Advantage rental assistance program was a short-term City-issued rental subsidy that helped clients transition from temporary emergency shelter into permanent housing. In April 2011, the City stopped signing new leases through the program after the State withdrew funding for Advantage. With no other rental subsidies in the pipeline, the best path back to self-sufficiency remains employment and work supports.

In addition, the federal government stopped issuing new Section 8 vouchers several years ago. While current Section 8 holders have not been affected, no new vouchers are available.

If you are a household affected by the elimination of Advantage, please consider attending a Homebase information session that can provide you with assistance and advice.
View Schedule of Homebase Information Sessions (in PDF)
Click Here for Available Rental Programs and Maximum Rent Guidelines, August 2013 (in PDF)

[back to top]


15. How is DHS different from other homelessness organizations across the nation?
Governed by a unique "right to shelter" mandate, New York City is required to provide shelter to families and individuals who lack housing alternatives. Because of this mandate, no one is ever put on a waiting list or turned away due to lack of capacity.

Comprising more than 2,000 employees, DHS remains one of the largest organizations of its kind committed to preventing and addressing homelessness across the five boroughs. As the agency furthers this mission, it employs a variety of innovative homelessness prevention strategies, aimed to help families and individuals remain housed in the community as much as possible.

[back to top]