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:
- Call or stop by one of the drop-in centers below
- Call 311 and ask for shelter for youth
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. Please call to verify times of operation and intake.
Cardinal McCloskey Services
Address: 333 E 149th St, Bronx, NY 10451
Contact: 718-993-5495 , 718-993-5495 ,
Drop-in hours: 24/7
SCO Family of Services
Address: 774 Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211
Drop-in hours: 24/7
Ali Forney Center
Address: 321 W 125th St, New York NY 10027
Drop-in hours: 24/7
Address: 555 Broome St, New York, NY 10013
Drop-in hours: 11am – 6pm (Mon – Thurs)
Safe Horizon Streetwork Harlem
Address: 209 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027
Drop-in hours: 12 – 6pm (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sun)
Sheltering Arms – Safe Space – Jamaica
Address: 89-74 162nd St, 3rd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11432
Contact: 718-526-2400 ext. 2077
Drop-in hours: 24/7
Sheltering Arms – Far Rockaway
Address: 1600 Central Ave, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Contact: 718-471-6818 ext. 2123
Drop-in hours: 2pm – 8pm (Mon – Thurs), 11am – 7pm ( Fri) & 12 -8pm (Sat)
Address: 27 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island, NY 10302
Contact: 718-876-4752 , YDICOutreach@projecthospitality.org
Drop-in hours: 24/7 Hours for new client intake: 24/7
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. If you’re 21 – 24 years old, you can go to a drop-in center above to get a referral. Anyone over 18 in NYC can also go to adult shelters.
Housing for families
- Single mothers and their children may be able to find shelter at Crisis Services Programs and Transitional Independent Living.
- Parents—including mothers over 18, fathers, and couples—looking for temporary housing with their family can apply at the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) intake center.
- Adult families without children can apply for shelter at the Adult Family Intake Center.
Find long-term housing
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.Learn how to find an apartment in NYC
Food & nutrition
If you need food now, you can:
- Call the Emergency FoodLine at 866-888-8777
- Find a provider on the NYC Food Map
- Visit a drop-in center
Learn more about Emergency Food Assistance and how to get groceries at a food pantry or a cooked meal at a community kitchen. You can also reserve a spot at food pantries using the Plentiful app.
Physical & sexual health services
From safe and affirming services for LGBTQ youth to afforable insurance and free condoms, NYC has resources to help you stay healthy, no matter your ability to pay, immigration status, or housing and family situation. If you plan to get health services, keep in mind:
- 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. Learn more about sexual health and other services
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.
Learn more about counseling and mental health support in NYC
Health insurance & Medicaid
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. To learn more about affordable options and how to understand health insurance, visit the Doctors & Insurance topic page. You can also get free help with insurance through GetCoveredNYC. To find insurance options that might work for your immigration status, visit HRA’s Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access website.
School & Work
Finishing high school
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
For information on High School Equivalency (HSE) prep, transfer schools, and more, visit the Finishing High School topic page.
Going to college
The right support can make it easier to achieve your education goals. Check out the resources below to help you choose, apply to, and pay for college.
Financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships, can help ease the cost of college. To find someone to help you through the process, visit a drop-in center or reach out to your school’s expert in the office for students in temporary housing. Learn more about other opportunities on the Paying for School topic page.
- 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.
For more information on going to college, visit Getting into College and Spotlight on CUNY.
Finding a job
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. To find out more about getting the right to work as an immigrant, visit the Immigrant Youth topic page.
Get support at college
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.
Benefits & Programs
You may be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help you buy food and Cash Assistance to help with costs, including emergency rent help and your safety or health. If you plan to apply, keep in mind:
- 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
- Training, education, and employment: Cash Assistance recipients can get training and education services to help develop their career
You can apply for SNAP online through AccessHRA, submit documents through your smartphone, and complete an interview over the phone. To apply for Cash Assistance, visit an HRA Job Center near you. To find out what other benefits and programs you may be eligible for, visit ACCESS NYC. To learn more about applying for benefits as an immigrant, visit HRA’s website.
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. Learn more about managing your money on the Budgeting page and the Banking & Credit page on Generation NYC.
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:
- The Door Lower Manhattan Get directions
- The Center Lower Manhattan Get directions
- Hetrick-Martin Institute NoHo, Manhattan Get directions
- Queens Pride House Jackson Heights, Queens Get directions
- Brooklyn Community Pride Center Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn Get Directions
For support related to housing, visit a drop-in center. For more information on other resources available to LGBTQ youth in NYC, check out the Unity Project page.