Brief Q&A regarding homelessnessin NYC

new york homeless familyHomelessness in New York is on the rise.  The total number of homeless individuals in shelters was 50,926 in June 2013.  It’s not a surprise that the most commented blog post on our blog is our blog on Homelessness.  This blog is meant to help answer the multiple numbers of questions we received in regards to issues related to homelessness.

1. What are my child’s educational rights when we are placed in a shelter?

Under the federal act McKinney-Vento, your child has educational rights when in temporary housing. Under this Act, children and youth living in temporary housing have the right to go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there. Additionally, children and youth have the right to choose between the local school close to where they are currently living, the school they attended before losing their housing (known as the school of origin) or the school where they were last enrolled (also known as the school of origin).  Read over “Short Guide to the Education Rights of Children and Youth Living in Temporary Housing in New York State” for more information.

2.  What shelters are available in New York City? 

Below is a list of homeless shelters in NYC.

  • Intake Facility for Adult Families with No Children

New York City Department of Homeless Services
Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC)
400 East 29th Street (1st Avenue)
New York, NY 10016 (Manhattan)
(212) 481-4704 or 311

  • Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) [Families: BOYFRIENDS ARE ALLOWED IF CAN SHOW PATERNITY TO ONE OF THE CHILDREN].  151 East 151st Street, Bronx, NY.  The main telephone number for PATH is (917) 521-3900.

 3. What should I expect when apply for PATH?

The Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing (PATH) office is located at 346 Powers Avenue, Bronx, NY.  When you arrive, you will see a Diversion/ Prevention worker, who will try to help you avoid entering the shelter system. After you meet with the Diversion/ Prevention worker you will be placed in a shelter for about 10 days while PATH investigates your eligibility. It is important that during the investigation process, you disclose all the reasons why you cannot return to any previous addresses where you and your family were living. To learn more about the process please visit Legal Aid’s Know Your Rights Resource on Homelessness.

4. What are my rights to welfare if me and my family are homeless?

Depending on the situation you may be entitled for a welfare grant. If you are not already on public assistance then you may be eligible for Immediate Cash Grant or Expedited Food Stamps.  Click here for more info about your right to public benefits if homeless.

5. Are there shelters for single mothers?

 HELP USA is one of the country’s largest builders and operators of service-enriched transitional and low-income permanent housing. For more information about Housing please visit  Additionally, women in NYC can go to PATH shelters with their children just be sure to bring the children’s birth certificates and identification. If you are a single mother who is the victim of domestic violence there are shelters offered by Safe Horizon, click here to learn about homeless shelters for victims of domestic violence.

 6. What do I do if I’m denied shelter?

You have a right to appeal within 60 days of the decision of ineligibility in a fair hearing. There are many organizations out there willing to help. This resource explains your legal rights when in a family shelter.   If you are denied shelter you can see if a legal aid attorney can represent you.  Click here to search for a free legal aid attorney that specializes in homelessness: NY Legal Aid Help.

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