If your housing situation is uncertain, you can find help throughout NYC. Check out the resources below to find a safe place to stay, get free and confidential support for your health and well-being, and access what you need to help reach your goals.
Find a place to stay
If you need a safe place to stay, resources are available. Youth ages 16 – 20 may be able to find emergency shelter at Crisis Services Programs throughout NYC. To get connected:
If you’re over 20, you can go to a drop-in center below to get a referral. Anyone over 18 in NYC can also go to adult shelters.
Youth drop-in centers
Drop-in centers in all five boroughs offer a safe place for youth ages 14 – 24 to hang out, charge your phone, find clothing and food, and take care of other needs. You can also get a range of services, from health care to job support (most drop-in centers offer these after an intake conversation with staff). Find out how to access centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
Youth ages 16 – 20 who need a safe place to stay may find shelter and support services at Crisis Services Programs for up to 120 days. To get connected, most youth visit a drop-in center and ask for a referral or call 311.
Youth 16 – 20 who don’t have stable housing may find a supportive place to stay for up to 24 months at Transitional Independent Living (TIL) programs. TIL programs also offer services including education programs, job help, counseling, and life skills. To get a referral, youth usually go to a Crisis Services Program first. To start the process, you should visit a drop-in center and ask about residential programs.
Though housing in NYC is expensive, you may be able to get help finding a stable place to live. Most drop-in centers can assist with supportive housing applications and other permanent housing options, and you can enter an affordable housing lottery.
Anyone over 12 in NYC can get confidential sexual health services, such as STD/STI testing, without consent from a parent or guardian
For primary care and other medical services, such as check-ups and shots, youth under 18 typically need parent or guardian permission, but you have options. If you’re not able to get permission, you can talk to someone at a drop-in center or at your school.
NYC YouthHealth Centers NYC YouthHealth Centers throughout the City provide healthcare for young adults ages 12 and up, regardless of whether or not you can pay. You don’t need an appointment for sexual health services, but you might for other services.
Sexual Health Clinics NYC Sexual Health Clinics across the City provide no- to low-cost confidential services for STIs, including HIV. Clinics see people on a first-come, first-served basis, and you don’t need an appointment.
School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) All students at a school with a SBHC can get healthcare services, even if they don’t have insurance. Some high school SBHCs also offer mental health and reproductive care.
NYC Well is your connection to free and private mental health support. You can reach out to a counselor by phone, text, or chat and get help with stress, depression, anxiety, or drug and alcohol misuse. To get help 24/7 and in more than 200 languages:
Text: Text “WELL” to 65173 to text with a counselor.
Chat: Go to the NYC Well website to chat with a counselor or peer support specialist.
Talk: Call 888-NYC-WELL to speak with a counselor or peer support specialist.
No matter your situation, you have options for free or low-cost health insurance and people who can help guide you through it. To find out if you’re eligible for public health insurance programs like Medicaid, visit a Medicaid office near you.
By law, students without stable housing should get the same access to high school education as students in permanent housing. If your housing situation is making it hard to continue at school, you can reach out to staff at your school or an expert in the NYC Department of Education’s office for students in temporary housing. They can help you:
Enroll in school right away, even if you don’t have the required documents, such as proof of residency
Get free transportation
Connect to food and other services to help with school
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The first step in getting almost all kinds of financial aid, FAFSA asks questions about your financial situation. If you’re homeless and living without parents or a guardian, you don’t need to give your parents’ income information or a permanent home address. Learn more.
Excelsior Scholarship: You may be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship, which allows students to go to City of New York (CUNY) or State University of New York (SUNY) tuition-free. Learn more.
Whether you’re looking to start your career or you need to earn money after school, NYC has resources to help you find the right job. Many drop-in centers have job programs that you can take part in for free, or you can get connected to jobs or internships through the City.
For information on how to prepare for work, different kinds of jobs, and jobs opportunities, visit the Employment topic page.
Once you get into college, it’s important to find a safe place to sleep and good food to keep your energy up. Many schools have resources that can help you.
CUNY Single Stop: CUNY Single Stop offices in community colleges around NYC offer free financial counseling, help applying for benefits, and other services.
Campus food pantries: All public colleges in NY State, including CUNY and SUNY, are supposed to have a food pantry with free groceries for students facing food insecurity. Many other private campuses have one, too. Find out if your school has a food pantry.
From City benefits that help with money and food to financial counseling and other services, you can find support in NYC to help you support yourself now and get where you want to be in the future.
Home address: You don’t need a permanent address to apply.
Youth under 21 years old: You can apply for SNAP benefits and Cash Assistance on your own. You may be eligible if you’re 16 or older, don’t live with your parents or a legal guardian, and you meet the rest of the eligibility requirements.
Youth 16 and 17: You may need an assessment to make sure you’re in a safe living situation before you can apply on your own.
In college: You may be able to get SNAP benefits in college if you’re also working, caring for a child, or meet other requirements
Interested in learning more about how to create a budget, open a bank account, improve credit, or save for the future? You can get free financial counseling at Financial Empowerment Centers across NYC. Make an appointment by booking online or calling 311.
It’s important to feel safe and accepted while your living situation is in transition. LGBTQ youth can get referrals, access services, and build community at centers throughout NYC. Popular centers include: