Know Your Rights – Shelter Transfers

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Shelter Placements and Transfer Requests

If you are homeless in New York City you have a right to apply for shelter – and if you have no where else to go – you have a right to receive a shelter placement. However, DHS is generally not able to accommodate requests for placement in specific shelters or boroughs.

If you have a documented health or safety risk in a specific neighborhood, borough, or at a specific shelter, you have the right to have your needs accommodated. You must present documentation of these risks to the Department of Homeless Services.

– If you have a safety concern, such as a crime has been committed against you in the shelter or the area nearby the shelter, get a police report.

– If the shelter is a problem in terms of your health, get a letter from your doctor indicating what the risks are to your well being and show this information to staff at the shelter.

DHS does not authorize shelter transfers requested by clients unless there is a documented health or safety risk at the location where you are currently assigned. Only DHS can authorize shelter transfers.

Transfers by DHS

DHS can transfer you to another site, if necessary, for a number of reasons. They can provide 48 hours notice of a transfer, in which case you can appeal to your shelter or DHS if you disagree. They may also administratively transfer you to another site at their discretion.

If you are transferred, you still have the right to be safe and healthy in your placement. If there is a health or safety risk, get documentation as described above.

If you leave shelter for any reason and need to return, you always have the right to do so. For one year after you leave the shelter system DHS’ rules require that you return to the site from which you left. After one year, you should seek shelter from the intake center where you initially applied.

If you have questions about your right to shelter or shelter transfers you can come to see an advocate in the Crisis Intervention Program.