Street Outreach

A team from DHS' NYC Homeless Outreach program enters a center from the street

A Pocket Guide to Accessing Homeless Services

View a list of DHS' intake centers and drop-in centers

Download DHS' intake centers and drop-in centers outreach flyer


Street Homelessness & Outreach

Operating a comprehensive street outreach program, DHS deploys teams 24 hours per day, seven days a week, Citywide, aiming to engage street homeless individuals and encourage them to move from the streets into housing. According to the annual federally-mandated Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), 2,794 homeless individuals were living on the streets of New York City in February 2016, 12 percent fewer than last year and 36 percent fewer than the first count in 2005.

DHS understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to ending homelessness. Our Street Outreach Program offers alternatives to traditional shelter that this population of clients may be more likely to accept. With a dedicated provider for each borough (Manhattan Outreach Consortium, led by Goddard Riverside, in Manhattan; Common Ground in Brooklyn and Queens; BronxWorks in the Bronx; and Project Hospitality on Staten Island), the agency has helped more than 4,100 chronically homeless individuals transition from the streets into housing.

Although the work of outreach workers is always important, it becomes all the more urgent during times of harsh winter weather, or extremely high summer temperatures. Implementing its Code Blue and Code Red procedures respectively, DHS aims to further protect clients who are living unsheltered, thereby doubling the number of outreach vans in the field and enabling teams to check on individuals more frequently. Additionally, when these procedures are in effect, individuals experiencing homelessness may access any of the agency’s adult facilities, including shelters and drop-in centers, without going through the usual intake process.

Every day, DHS and its street outreach providers work to assist street homeless clients. We remind all New Yorkers to dial 311 (or contact us through the 311 mobile phone app) if you see an individual who appears to be homeless or in need of services. One call can make a difference!


Code Blue

A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., including National Weather Service calculations for wind chill values. No one who is homeless and seeking shelter in New York City during a Code Blue will be denied. Should you see a homeless individual out in the cold, please call 311 and an outreach team will be dispatched to offer assistance. Code Blue Weather Emergencies include the following options for the homeless:
  • Shelters: During a Code Blue, shelter is available system-wide to accommodate anyone who is reasonably believed to be homeless and is brought to a shelter by outreach teams. Accommodations are also available for walk-ins.
  • Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24-hours per day when Code Blue procedures are in effect and will assist as many people as possible for the duration of the emergency. Drop-in staff can also make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
  • Street homeless outreach: Teams will contact vulnerable individuals on their Code Blue Priority Lists to ensure safety and bring them to shelter. DHS coordinates Code Blue efforts directly with agencies such as NYPD, DSNY, and the Parks Department, at a borough level.


Street Outreach in the News

2016 Federally-Mandated Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) Finds 12 Percent Decline in Street Homeless on the Night of the Count (April 26, 2016)


Provider Spotlight

Watch the video below for information about Manhattan Outreach Consortium, a DHS street outreach provider offering resources and assistance to Manhattan’s street homeless individuals.

Goddard Riverside Outreach

The lead agency in Manhattan Outreach Consortium -- a group of service organizations providing outreach in Manhattan. Provides information, referrals, case management, and referrals for shelter and other services.