Veteran Housing Ladder

Veteran Housing Ladder logo

No matter where you are in your housing journey, DVS has the resources you need to get where you're going. Our Veteran Housing Ladder includes resources for veterans in need of emergency shelter and for those looking to receive emergency financial assistance to stay in their homes. The Veteran Housing Ladder also features resources to apply for public housing, enter NYC's affordable housing lottery, access VA home loans, pay your energy bills, and more.

Connect to housing services by filling out the VetConnectNYC form and selecting "Housing and Shelter" as your preferred service:

Request Services on VetConnectNYC

See below for a list of VA benefits you may be eligible for:

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

You are Experiencing Homelessness and Need Immediate Shelter

  • VA Homeless Hotline: Veterans experiencing homelessness can contact VA's services for homeless and at-risk Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) for additional support.
  • Drop-In Centers (DICs): Veterans experiencing homelessness are welcomed at NYC Department of Homeless Service Drop-In Centers (DICs) at any time. All centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. At DICs, you can access specialized services including:
    • Hot meals and clothing
    • Showers and laundry facilities
    • Counseling, case management services, and connections to health care, including medical care and mental health care
    • Help finding a job or applying for benefits
  • Find DIC locations in every borough.

You are Experiencing Homelessness and Need Help Paying for Permanent or Supportive Housing

HUD-VASH: HUD-VASH is a program from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs VA to help veterans facing homelessness and their families find and sustain permanent housing. HUD provides rental assistance vouchers for privately owned housing to veterans who are eligible for VA health care and are experiencing homelessness. VA case managers connect these veterans with additional support services.

Grant and Per Diem Program: The Veteran Affairs Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem program will support two kinds of grants for FY24: 1) Per Diem Only grants will fund transitional supportive housing beds or service centers, and 2) Transition in Place grants will provide Veterans with apartment-style housing that allows Veterans to remain in their homes when they complete the GPD program. VA anticipates awarding 350 Per Diem Only grants to support approximately 10,500 transitional housing beds and 15 service centers nationwide. The department also anticipates awarding approximately 40 Transition in Place grants to support 600 TIP beds nationwide.

PDO grant applications must be received by 4 p.m., ET, Feb. 6, 2023, and TIP grant applications must be received by the GPD program office by 4 p.m., ET, Jan. 30, 2023. View the GPD PDO Notice of Funding Opportunity, the GPD TIP Notice of Funding Opportunity, learn more about GPD or email GPDGrants@va.gov.

- Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher (HCV): Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, works as a rental subsidy that allows families to pay a reasonable amount of their income toward their rent. Eligible families will receive a voucher to begin searching for housing. Generally, families will pay no more than 40 percent of their adjusted monthly income toward their rent share. NYCHA pays the remaining amount to the owner on the family's behalf. This payment to the owner is known as the Housing Assistance Payment. Section 8 participants must comply with all program requirements, including completing their annual certification, accommodating Housing Quality Standards inspections, allowing property owners to make any needed repairs, and adhering to the terms of their lease.

      • Eligibility:
        • At least one member of the applicant family must meet the documentation requirements of citizenship or eligible immigration status
        • An applicant must provide social security numbers for all family members who claim citizenship or eligible immigration status
        • No member of the applicant household may have been convicted for production of methamphetamines in federally-assisted housing
        • No member of the applicant household may be subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a State sex offender registration program
        • An applicant must be within the appropriate income limits for their family size. Income limits can be found on the Section 8 eligibility page.
      • How to Apply:
        • New Section 8/HCV applications are not being accepted at this time. The public will be notified when applications are being accepted again. If you previously submitted a Section 8 application when the waiting list was open, log on to the Self-Service Portal to confirm the receipt of your NYCHA application. Learn more about Section 8.

- Supportive Housing: Supportive housing is affordable housing with supportive social services in place for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

      • Types of Supportive Housing: Supportive housing typically comes in two setting model types: congregate (the only one developers work with) and scattered-site. In the Congregate Housing model, all tenants live in one building and each has his/her own individual room or apartment. Tenants have their own lease and pay rent directly to the landlord. These buildings typically have a rental subsidy connected to the apartment that allows the rent to be very affordable for the tenant. In a scattered-site model, apartments are scattered throughout the city in different buildings owned by private landlords. Leases are most often between the landlord and a non-profit provider. All tenants have a sub-lease and are responsible to contribute 30% of their income towards the rent and utilities. There are supportive housing programs designated for adult families (all adults over 18), for families with children, and for young adults (18-25) aging out of foster care or in a shelter who are pregnant or have children. As with all populations, a 2010e application must be submitted to determine if the head of household is eligible for supportive housing.
      • Eligibility:
        • A person is eligible for supportive housing if they are an individual or family that is chronically homeless and has a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder.
      • How to Apply:
        • All prospective tenants must work with a pre-approved social service or health provider to complete and submit an HRA 2010e application.

- The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) is available to help with the housing application process. Call CUCS at (212) 801-3333 and ask for a Housing Consultant for information about the HRA housing application and referral process. For additional referral information, contact CUCS. Once an application is submitted, a clinical team from HRA's Customized Assistance Services reviews the application and makes an eligibility determination.

- Special One-Time Assistance Program (SOTA): The SOTA program will pay one year of rent for NYC Department of Homeless Services clients to move within New York City, to other New York State counties, or to another state, Puerto Rico, or Washington, D.C.

      • Eligibility:
        • Must be a client of NYC Department of Homeless Services (a client is someone who resides in a DHS shelter).
        • Families with children who have been in a shelter for at least 90 days.
        • Single adults and adult families who have been in a shelter for 90 days out of the last 365 days.
        • SOTA is only provided to households whom DSS has determined will likely have the future ability to pay the rent once they are no longer part of the SOTA program. Households must have recurring income from employment, SSI, or SSD benefits. Household rent must not exceed 50% of that current or projected income. If the household is moving within New York City (only), it must not be eligible for any federal, State, or City rental subsidy.
        • In order to use SOTA, clients will be required to provide proof of income, and the rent must not be more than 50% of household income.
      • How to Apply:
        • Case managers and housing specialists identify NYC DHS clients who may be eligible for SOTA. In addition, clients may reach out to their case manager or housing specialist if they believe they may be eligible. Housing specialists assist clients with their housing search and clients may also identify units on their own.

- CITYFHEPS: CityFHEPS is a rental assistance supplement to help formerly homeless individuals and families find and keep housing.

      • Eligibility:
        • Households must have a gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level and meet one of the following five (5) criteria:
          • The household includes someone who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and is at risk of homelessness; OR
          • The household has an unexpired LINC, CITYFEPS, or SEPS letter at the time CityFHEPS eligibility is requested (not available after 2/28/2019); OR
          • The household gets LINC VI or Pathway Home benefits and would be eligible for CityFHEPS if they were in DHS or HRA shelter; OR
          • The household was referred by a CityFHEPS qualifying program, and DSS determined that CityFHEPS was needed to avoid shelter entry; OR
          • The household is facing eviction in court (or was evicted in the past year) AND:
            • Includes someone who has previously lived in a DHS shelter; OR
            • Includes someone who has an active Adult Protective Services (APS) case or is in a designated community guardianship program; OR
            • Lives in a rent-controlled apartment and will use CityFHEPS to stay in that apartment.
      • How to Apply:
        • To apply for CityFHEPS, you must visit one of the DSS nonprofit service providers. Contact a Homebase location in your borough: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island. The Homebase caseworker will collect the information needed by DSS to assess your potential eligibility for CityFHEPS. The caseworker may refer you to apply for other public benefits, including federal and state rental assistance programs. If your household is found eligible for and offered other benefits, you must accept them. This is required by the CityFHEPS program. Learn more about CityFHEPS.

- Jericho Project Veterans Initiative: The Jericho Project provides a dedicated Case Manager to work closely with veterans as they move from homelessness into independent housing in the community. The Case Manager helps the formerly homeless veterans become more stable in their new apartments and access the employment, health, and social support systems they need to sustain their housing. Crucially, this includes regular meetings for six months to ensure that the veteran has the resources to resume civilian life with dignity. Learn more about the Jericho Project

To connect to homeless prevention assistance and aftercare support by filling out the VetConnectNYC.org form and selecting "Housing and Shelter" as your preferred service.

You are Experiencing a Housing Emergency and Need Homeless Prevention Services

-New York State's Veterans Emergency Housing Assistance Fund

  • Eligibility:
    • To qualify, an applicant must be a Veteran living in New York State and facing an immediate housing hardship. An applicant must also have a personal net worth equal to or below the net worth limit established by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to assess eligibility for a non-service-connected pension.
    • Eligible Veterans can receive up to $2,000 apiece to help cover their emergency housing expenses.
  • How to Apply:
    -Applications can be emailed to housing@veterans.ny.gov or sent via mail:
    ATTN: Veterans Emergency Housing Program
    New York State Department of Veterans' Services
    2 Empire State Plaza, Floor 17
    Albany, NY 12223

-Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): The SSVF program provides rental assistance to eligible veterans.


-Homebase: Homebase provides homeless prevention services to New Yorkers at risk of becoming homeless. The program also offers aftercare services to families and individuals transitioning from NYC DHS shelters to permanent housing. As part of the Homebase program, homelessness prevention experts work to develop personalized plans for renters experiencing an immediate housing crisis.

  • Eligibility:
    • You may be eligible for Homebase services if you:
      • Are at imminent risk of entering the New York City shelter system
      • Are low-income
      • Want to remain stably housed in your community
  • How to Apply:
    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Homebase locations are currently closed and services are being administered over the phone. Contact a Homebase location in your borough: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island.

-One-Shot Deal: The One-Shot Deal allows NYC residents to apply for a one-time emergency grant that can be used for assistance with rent, utility bills, and disaster expenses. Emergency assistance is provided for, but not limited to, the following situations:

  • Homelessness
  • Eviction or dispossess
  • Utility disconnection or pending shutoff
  • Fire disaster
  • Domestic violence
    • Circumstances that affect the health and safety of the individual or family
    • Eligibility:
      • Households who have been displaced from their homes as a result of fires or city-issued vacate orders. HRA will call you to complete your telephone eligibility interview.

Emergency Housing Services: The NYC Housing Preservation and Preservation's (HPD) Emergency Housing Services (EHS) unit provides emergency relocation services and rehousing assistance to displaced households. Displaced households are placed in family centers and single-room-occupancy hotels in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.

  • Eligibility:
    • Households who have been displaced from their homes as a result of fires or city-issued vacate orders.
  • How to Apply:
    • To apply call 212-863-8561

Tenant Helpline and Resource Portal: NYC renters struggling to pay rent can call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline. Find additional resources at NYC's Tenant Resource Portal.

NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP): Applications now open! The ERAP helps households at risk of eviction by providing emergency back rent and utility payments, as well as temporary rental assistance. Review eligibility requirements and learn how to apply

You are a Senior Citizen in Need of Housing Assistance

-Home Sharing: The Home Sharing program is a matching service that pairs "hosts" who have extra private spaces in their houses or apartments to share with responsible, compatible "guests" seeking suitable housing. The program seeks to match persons for whom shared living arrangements would enhance their financial and/or social well-being, promote companionship, and relieve feelings of isolation.

  • Eligibility:
    • Adults age 18 or older are eligible, but at least one of the participants must be age 60 or older. The program also serves adult "hosts" age 55 or older, who are interested in sharing their homes with "guests".
  • How to Apply:
    • Call Aging Connect at 212-244-6469.

-NYC Rent Freeze Program: Eligible New Yorkers can apply for a rent freeze to be exempted from rent increases through the NYC Rent Freeze Program.

  • Eligibility:
    • NYC Rent Freeze Program is available to New Yorkers who are senior citizens or have a disability and rent an apartment that is rent-regulated (rent-controlled, rent-stabilized, hotel stabilized, or Mitchell-Lama).
  • How to Apply:

You are a Veteran with a Disability in Need of Housing Assistance

You are Looking for Low-Income Public Housing

  • New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Public Housing: NYCHA provides public housing to eligible New Yorkers.
    • You may be eligible for an apartment if your family's income does not exceed the established income limits listed on the NYCHA eligibility page. Due to long waiting lists, priority is given to individuals and families applying from shelters. The disability application can be accessed via phone at 212-306-4652.
    How to Apply:
    • To be considered for an apartment in a NYCHA public housing development, you must submit a completed application. You can apply online or you may file online from any of NYCHA's walk-in centers (COVID-19 may affect walk-in centers). Applicants should select a first and second borough choice, and provide information about:

You are Looking for Affordable Housing

NYC Housing Connect: NYC Housing Connect is New Yorkers' portal to find and apply for affordable housing opportunities across the City. The housing connect website contains lotteries from Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC), people seeking housing can create a profile and fill out the application once. Then they can apply to new developments without having to fill out the application again. 5% of developments are set aside for tenants with mobility impairments and 2% are set aside for tenants with visual and hearing disabilities.

  • Eligibility:
    • Your eligibility for each housing lottery is based on the number of people you will be living with, and all of your total combined income. Income requirements start around $18,000 per year. View income requirements at the NYC Housing Connect website.
  • How to Apply:
  • Complete a Housing Connect profile, Check often for new developments that fit your household. It may take several months for applications to be processed. You may apply to multiple different lotteries at once. If you're selected through the lottery, you must confirm your eligibility and provide documents to show you qualify for an apartment in the development.
    Learn more about NYC Housing Connect.

-Mitchell-Lama: The Mitchell-Lama program provides affordable rental and cooperative housing to moderate- and middle-income families. Mitchell-Lama apartments are sold or rented through waiting lists maintained by each development. Many Mitchell-Lama waiting lists are closed because there are already sufficient applicants on waitlists to fill vacancies expected for the foreseeable future. Periodically, these developments open their waiting lists and new applications are accepted based on a lottery system. Eligible veterans or surviving spouses of eligible veterans residing in New York State are entitled to a preference for Mitchell-Lama developments if selected in a lottery to which they have applied. If an external waiting list is open, an eligible veteran household can submit an application to be placed on the list. Veterans will be offered a unit in the order of when they submitted their application but must be given an offer before applicants who do not have this preference. At the time an external waiting list is opened and a lottery conducted, veterans or their surviving spouses who are selected in the lottery also have priority over other applicants selected in the lottery. A qualified veteran who is selected in the lottery is placed at the top of the external list which is created. The order of veterans on the list will be according to their lottery selection. Learn more about veteran eligibility.

  • Eligibility:
    • All Mitchell-Lama developments have eligibility requirements related to income limits, family size, and apartment size. To view income limits, visit the Mitchel Lama information page.
  • How to Apply:
    • Each development requires that you apply separately. However, you can apply to more than one development at a time. Mitchell-Lama apartments are sold or rented through waiting lists kept by each development. In order to apply to a Mitchell-Lama with an open waiting list, please contact the managing agent directly and request an application.
    • Visit Mitchell-Lama Connect for a list of developments with open waiting lists. This site will also provide the name and contact information of the managing agents.
    • Visit HPD for more affordable housing resources

You are a Active Duty Service Member in Need of Housing

You are Ready to Buy a Home

-VA Home Loans: The VA helps service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. There are several different loans offered by the VA (see "VA Loan Types" below). VA loans can be classified as either VA Direct Loans or VA-Backed Home Loans.

  • VA Direct Loan: With a VA direct home loan, the VA serves as your mortgage lender. Veterans work directly with the VA to apply for and manage your loan.
  • VA-Backed Home Loan: With a VA-backed home loan, the VA guarantees a portion of the loan you get from a private lender. If your VA-backed home loan goes into foreclosure, the guarantee allows the lender to recover some or all of their losses. Since there's less risk for the lender, they're more likely to give you the loan under better terms. In fact, nearly 90% of all VA-backed home loans are made without a down payment. Lenders follow VA standards when making VA-backed home loans. They may also require you to meet additional standards before giving you a loan. These standards may include having a high enough credit score or getting an updated home appraisal (an expert's estimate of the value of your home).

-VA Loan Types:

  • Purchase Loans help veterans purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance.
  • Cash-Out Refinance Loans allow you to take cash out of your home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements.
    • Eligibility for Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance:
      • VA-guaranteed loans are available for homes for your occupancy or a spouse and/or dependent (for active duty service members). To be eligible, you must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income to meet the expected monthly obligations, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Learn more about Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance
    • How to Apply for Purchase Loan and Cash-Out Refinance:

  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), also called the Streamline Refinance, helps you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing your existing VA loan. 
    • Eligibility:
      • The IRRRL is a "VA to VA" loan, meaning it can only be done if you have an existing VA guaranteed loan on the property. The IRRRL is generally performed to lower the interest and reduce the monthly payment on the existing VA guaranteed loan. Learn more about IRRRL
    • How to Apply:
      • A new Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is not required. You may take your Certificate of Eligibility to show the prior use of your entitlement or your lender may use our email confirmation procedure in lieu of a certificate of eligibility. Learn more about applying for an IRRRL.
  • Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program helps eligible Native American Veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan. 
    • Eligibility:
      • The NADL program helps Native American Veterans purchase, construct, improve, or refinance a home on Native American trust lands. Your tribal organization must participate in the VA direct loan program. You must have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Learn more about the NADL program.
    • How to Apply: First, confirm that your tribal organization participates in the VA direct loan program. NADL loans are obtained through a lender of your choice once you obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You can obtain a COE through eBenefits, by mail, and often through your lender. Learn more about applying for a NADL

  • Adapted Housing Grants help veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or modify an existing home to account for their disability. 

  • State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) Programs:
    • Access to Home for Heroes: Access to Home for Heroes provides financial assistance to property owners to make dwelling units accessible for low- and moderate-income veterans living with a disability.
    • Down Payment Assistance Loan: A Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) allows SONYMA borrowers to secure down payment assistance through a second mortgage that can be used in combination with any currently available SONYMA program. DPALs have no interest rate and no monthly payments and will be forgiven after 10 years, as long as the borrower keeps the SONYMA financing in place, and continues to occupy his or her home.
    • Achieving the Dream Loan Program: SONYMA's lowest interest rate program, Achieving the Dream, is designed to maximize the amount you can afford with a minimal down payment required. Among SONYMA's requirements, you must be a first-time buyer (unless you are an eligible military veteran or purchasing a home in a Target Area).
    • Low Interest Rate Loan Program: The Low Interest Rate Loan Program offers lower down payment requirements and competitive interest rates to qualified buyers. This program allows for the purchase of one to four-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, and manufactured homes. Among SONYMA's requirements, you must be a first-time buyer (unless you are an eligible military veteran or purchasing a home in a Target Area).
    • Conventional Plus Program: Conventional Plus Program is a new mortgage program that combines 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with SONYMA down payment assistance for both first-time homebuyers and previous homeowners. The program may be used for the purchase of a primary home or for the refinance of an existing mortgage (on a primary home). The down payment assistance may also be used to pay closing costs (including an upfront single mortgage insurance premium, if necessary, and thus eliminating the monthly mortgage insurance premium payment). With all these combined features including flexible underwriting guidelines, Conventional Plus offers a lower monthly payment than most mortgages. Income Limits apply. Income must be under 80% of Area Median Income.
    • Neighborhood Revitalization Program: With the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, qualified buyers receive incentives to buy and restore vacant properties in communities hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis.
    • Give Us Credit Pilot Program: Starting in New York City and on Long Island, the Give Us Credit Pilot Program qualifies eligible first-time homebuyers by expanding the criteria used to evaluate responsible financial management, increasing eligibility to families and individuals who rely on non-traditional savings and sources of income, and by offering greater flexibility for potential borrowers who have overcome past financial hardships.
    • FHA Plus: The FHA Plus Program is a mortgage program that combines 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with SONYMA down payment assistance for both first-time homebuyers and previous homeowners. The program may be used for the purchase of a primary home or for the refinance of an existing mortgage (on a primary home). The down payment assistance may also be used to pay closing costs.
    • Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) PLUS Program: Accruing enough assets to close on a new home is one of the largest barriers to homeownership. To address this need, SONYMA is offering a limited, enhanced down payment assistance loan, called the Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL) PLUS Program. DPAL PLUS is available state-wide and all SONYMA participating lenders may originate a DPAL PLUS loan. The maximum household income for eligibility is 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). SONYMA participating lenders began accepting DPAL PLUS applications on April 29th, 2021. Funds are offered on a first-come, first-served basis to those who are eligible. When funds are depleted, the program will end, unless indicated otherwise by SONYMA. If you have any questions, please contact GUC@nyshcr.org. Learn more about DPAL PLUS or review the DPAL PLUS term sheet.

You are Looking for a Veteran Property Tax Exemption

  • Alternative Veterans Tax Exemption: The Alternative Veterans tax exemption is available to eligible veterans of foreign wars, expeditionary medalists, veterans with honorable discharges, spouses/widow(er)s of veterans, and Gold Star parents. Form DD-214 is usually used to indicate discharge under honorable conditions. See a complete listing of Acceptable Military Records for Veterans Property Tax Exemption. Veterans who have received a letter from the New York State Division of Veterans' Services stating that they meet the character of discharge criteria for all of the benefits and services listed in the Restoration of Honor Act may submit a copy of the letter.

    Requirements for Alternative Veterans Benefit
    • Applicants for the Alternative Veterans exemption must have served in one of the following conflicts:

      Conflict From To

      Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts

      August 2, 1990


      Vietnam War

      February 28, 1961

      May 7, 1975

      Korean War

      June 27, 1950

      January 31, 1955

      World War II

      December 7, 1941

      December 31, 1946

      World War I

      April 6, 1917

      November 11, 1918

    • The property must be the primary residence of the owner who qualifies for the exemption.
    • Applicants must submit form DD-214, separation papers, or if applicable, a letter from the New York State Division of Veterans' Services stating the veteran now meets the character of discharge criteria for all of the benefits and services listed in the Restoration of Honor Act.

Learn more about Requirements for Alternative Veterans Benefit

  • The Eligible Funds Exemption is for veterans who bought homes using "eligible funds," including pensions, bonuses, insurance, and mustering out pay. Both exemptions reduce the assessed value of the recipient's property before taxes are assessed on it. Thanks to changes in city and state law, the Alternative Veterans and Eligible Funds tax exemptions have been expanded and will now apply to school taxes. The typical single-family (tax class 1) home will save:

    Benefit Alternative Veterans Eligible Funds

    Base benefit



    Estimated additional benefit



    Property tax savings in fiscal year 2018