Father smiling at daughter sitting next to him

The city's shelter system is designed to provide temporary, emergency shelter to families with no other housing options available to them.

If your family seeks emergency shelter through the City of New York, you must provide information regarding your family and housing history that will be used to determine whether or not your family is eligible for emergency shelter. Your claim will be investigated. If your family is determined ineligble because it is determined other housing options are available to your family, you will not receive shelter automatically. You have the right to reapply, but you may not get a shelter placement.

Entering shelter does not guarantee an apartment. The city has a subsidy program, but it is only for families that meet guidelines, including length of stay. Families can remain in shelter a long time. The average length of stay in shelter is over 400 days. Families who do not qualify for a subsidy will have to pay their own rent.