Housing Programs & Services

Homeless Shelters: Under COVID-19

T + T


NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has made changes to policies and procedures in the city’s shelter system to allow for flexibility during the pandemic. This section also contains resources for households that are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

If you are a Benefits Plus subscriber, for additional information on NYC’s shelter system, refer to Benefits Plus, Housing Programs and Services, NYC Shelter System. For subscription information visit: https://bplc.cssny.org/home/subscription_options.

NYC Department of Homeless Services


DHS has made the following administrative changes to their policies and procedures:

  • Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) intake center and Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC) no longer require children to be physically present to apply for shelter.
  • Follow-up appointments and interviews are being conducted over the phone.
  • Clients can take pictures of documents with their phones, or fax or email documents.
  • The Income Savings Plan (ISP) requirement has been suspended through September 30, 2021.
    • In addition, DSS has been authorized to apply “good cause” for any non-payment of ISP contributions that were required to be paid during the months of March 2020 through September 2021.

For DHS COVID-19 related documents, including guidance to shelter providers, isolation plans, workflows, and more, visit: https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/dhs-guidance-and-workflows/.

For a listing of Youth, Adult, Family, and Domestic Violence Shelters and Drop-in Centers in NYC, click here. This listing is from Summer 2019. Advocates and clients should call shelters and centers ahead of time to confirm hours and modifications as a result of COVID-19.


DHS has established a new process by which outreach providers can conduct intake in subway stations and provide a direct placement from the subway station without having to go to a DHS intake location.


The NYPD will no longer participate in DHS’s Street Homelessness Joint Command Center and will be reassigned to other patrols. Street and subway homeless outreach will continue to be conducted by DHS and contracted social service providers, including new DHS street outreach nurses and DHS Street Medicine contracted providers.


DHS has begun voluntary COVID-19 testing at all homeless shelters for residents.

Domestic Violence Shelters

NYC has received a waiver of the State-set 180-day limit for those living in DIV emergency shelter beds, allowing residents to stay beyond the 180-day limit for DV shelters.

The Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline continues to operate 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. HRA’s No Violence Again (NoVA) social workers are serving clients remotely who are referred by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) when they apply for shelter and clients who experience domestic violence (DV) in DHS shelter. The social workers assist DV survivors in accessing DV residential programs; provide crisis intervention and counseling; and provide referrals to non-residential DV programs. In addition, HRA are making referrals remotely to HRA’s Domestic Violence Liaisons (DVLs) who provide DV assessments and crisis intervention so that DV survivors can safely apply for Cash Assistance and secure child support and work requirement waivers.

Coalition for the Homeless

Coalition for the Homeless’ Crisis Intervention Services is offered for those without access to shelter or who have a shelter related emergency.

Clients can call 212-776-2177 and leave a detailed message, no walk-ins accepted. This hotline is checked hourly and if able to assist, Coalition for the Homeless will respond to the client directly.

Coalition for the Homeless also publishes Borough Resource Guides with services for homeless New Yorkers, including food, shelter addresses, public toilets and showers. The Borough Resource Guides are also available in Spanish. To access, visit https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/covid-19.

Covenant House

The Covenant House offers housing to youth (16 – 21 years old) in NYC. Interested individuals should call 212-613-0300, x. 5212 before visiting their location, at 555 10th Avenue, New York, NY.

Before placement, individuals will have to be medically cleared, either with documentation or on-site by Covenant House’s medical team.