What do Do if you become Homeless in NYC - PictureTheHomeless's Blog

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What do Do if you become Homeless in NYC

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DHS guiding principle states that that all homeless individuals and families deserve safe, temporary shelter and that planning for permanent housing should begin immediately. The City provides shelter to families that have no permanent or temporary place to live.

Who Is Eligible
Where To Go
What To Bring, What Not To Bring
What To Expect

*Update*
The Section 8 and public housing priorities are no longer available in the family shelter system. A new rental assistance program, Advantage, is now available for families on public assistance. If you are currently in shelter, speak to your housing specialist for more information.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE (back to top )

Families with safe and appropriate places to stay will not be determined eligible for shelter services. You may instead be able to qualify for one of the many homelessness prevention programs that assist families in retaining their existing housing. If you are already homeless and preventive assistance cannot help you keep your existing housing, DHS will provide temporary emergency shelter in a safe environment. Before being placed in shelter, however, your family must be found eligible.

In order for you and your family to be found eligible, DHS must verify that your family is in immediate need of temporary emergency shelter. DHS will conduct an investigation to determine whether there is any other safe and appropriate place for you and your family to stay, even temporarily. To aid the investigation, you should provide any documents that will help investigators understand why you are now homeless. Examples include: eviction papers, marshal's 72-hour notices, letters from landlords or managing agents, letters from people you used to live with, and documents from doctors or other professionals showing that a former apartment may no longer be appropriate.

To be found eligible for emergency housing assistance, you and your family must already be receiving, or apply for, public assistance. HRA's Eligibility Processing Unit is located at the intake center, and will help your family apply.

DHS defines a family as: 1) legally married couples with or without children; 2) single parents with children; 3) pregnant women; and 4) unmarried couples, with or without children, who have cohabited for a substantial period of time and demonstrate a need to be sheltered together.

*Update*
Beginning April 18, 2007, DHS implemented a Pilot at PATH allowing all homeless couples comprised of a pregnant woman or with children who present either a marriage or domestic partnership certificate to be considered a "family" for the purpose of applying for shelter.

*Update*
Beginning February 1, 2007, DHS implemented a Pilot at AFIC allowing all homeless couples who present either a marriage or domestic partnership certificate to be considered an "adult couple" for the purpose of applying for shelter. Specifically, the following are considered an "adult couple" eligible for family housing:

Applicants who are legally married and present a valid marriage certificate;
Applicants who are domestic partners and present a valid domestic partnership certificate;
Adults who provide, as part of their application, proof establishing the medical dependence of one applicant upon another;
Adults who share one of the following relationships: (i) aunt/uncle to niece/nephew; (ii) grandparent to grandchild; (iii) parent to child; and (iv) siblings; and have resided with one another for one-hundred and eighty days within the year immediately prior to the date of their application;
Adult street homeless applicants who have been referred directly from the street by an outreach worker who recommends that they be housed together.
In addition, adults who are unable to meet the requirements above due to extraordinary circumstances and who have been co-habitants for at least six months immediately prior to their application may be considered a family under the discretion of an AFIC manager.

WHERE TO GO (back to top )

Please read this section carefully - depending on your family situation, you must go to one of two family intake centers.

Families with Children Under 21 Years Old

Families with children under 21 years old who are applying for shelter must go (in-person) to the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (Path) Office in the Bronx. The Path Office is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Pregnant Families (single pregnant women, pregnant couples, or parent/grandparent(s) with a pregnant child 21 years of age or over)

Pregnant families must go (in-person) to the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (Path ) Office in the Bronx. The Path Office is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Adult Families with No Children Under 21

Adult families with no children under 21 must go to the Adult Family Intake Center (AFIC), located in Manhattan. AFIC is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (Path) Office
346 Powers Avenue
Bronx, NY 10454
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week

Directions:

Subway: Take the number 6 train to the CYPRESS AVENUE stop. When you get off the train you will be on 138th Street between Jackson and Cypress Avenues. Walk one block west to CYPRESS Avenue. Turn RIGHT on CYPRESS Avenue and walk NORTH to 141st Street. Turn RIGHT onto 141st Street. Walk on 141st Street until you get to POWERS Avenue. Turn Left onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The Path Office will be on the RIGHT side of the street.

Bus: Take the No. 33 bus to 138th St. and Cypress Ave. When you get off the bus you will be on 138th Street between Jackson and Cypress Avenues. Walk one block WEST to CYPRESS Avenue. Turn RIGHT on CYPRESS Avenue and walk NORTH to 141st Street. Turn RIGHT onto 141st Street. Walk on 141st Street until you get to POWERS Avenue. Turn Left onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The Path Office will be on the RIGHT side of the street. Or take the Bx17 bus to Southern Blvd. and East 141st St. Walk three blocks WEST to POWERS AVENUE. Turn RIGHT onto POWERS Avenue and look for #346. The PATH office will be on the RIGHT side of the street.

Adult Family Intake Center(AFIC)
29th Street and 1st Avenue
Manhattan, NY 10016

Directions:
Take the 6 subway to 28th Street station. Walk east to 1st Avenue and turn left heading north to 29th street. Walk up the ramp to the AFIC entrance. By bus, you can take the M15 to 29th Street.

Dial 311 for more information.

WHAT TO BRING (back to top)

You should be aware of the paperwork you need to bring to Path for the emergency shelter application process. DHS will make copies of all documents you provide and return the originals to you.

You will need to have identification, such as a welfare ID card, green card, driver's license, passport/visa, or picture employment card. If you do not have a picture ID, you can generally use a birth certificate, social security card, Medicaid card, identity card in the public assistance system, or a pay stub to prove your identity.
In order to show that your household constitutes a family, you must:
Show that the adults in your family are listed as parent(s) on the child(ren)'s birth certificates, OR
Have legal custody of the child(ren), OR
Have filed in court or with the Department of Health for paternity, OR
Have documentation that the adults are legally married, and at least one adult is the child(ren)'s parent or guardian, OR
Show that the adults in the family have lived together for a substantial period of time and have a medical or other compelling reason why they need to live together, OR
Show a city-issued domestic partnership certificate as evidence and have lived together for at least six months.
It is also helpful to bring the following if you have it:
Eviction papers or Marshall's Notice
Proof of residence for the past 2 years
Leases
Con Edison or Telephone Bill
Pay stub, or proof of income
Do not bring:
Any contraband, alcohol, or illegal substances (smoking is not allowed in public buildings within New York City);
Expensive personal belongings (DHS is not responsible for lost or damaged goods);
Friends and visitors, or anyone not a part of your family; and/or Food;
Furniture;
Appliances; and/or
Pets.
WHAT TO EXPECT (back to top )

If your family is found eligible, you will be placed in temporary emergency housing. Shelters are run by non-profit and other organizations.

When in shelter, all clients will be expected to follow certain guidelines, which include:

Following your family's Independent Living Plan (ILP), which includes the steps you will need to follow to get permanent housing; Applying for public assistance or another type of housing subsidy; Working closely with your caseworker or housing specialist to locate and view available apartments;
Actively seeking permanent housing for you and your family by viewing available apartments several times per week;
Accepting a suitable apartment for you and your family when it is offered to you; and Following shelter guidelines that prohibit behavior that places other clients and staff at risk.
Failing to stick to these rules may have serious consequences. By working closely with shelter staff and following these and other rules, the City of New York will assist you in quickly moving from shelter to permanent housing.

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