COVID-19 Update

Updated: April 3, 2020

While the current COVID-19 outbreak in NYC is dramatically impacting the lives of every person in our city, please remember that homeless New Yorkers are particularly vulnerable, as they have much higher rates of serious underlying health problems, generally lack access to quality health care, and have no way to self-quarantine. The Coalition for the Homeless is doing all in our power to ensure that our neighbors without homes get the help and protection they need during this crisis.


The Coalition for the Homeless is continually monitoring the City’s response to the outbreak, and our policy recommendations can be read here.

On March 26th, The Legal Aid Society sent a letter to the Department of Homeless Services at the request of the Coalition for the Homeless citing several problems with the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and the need for homeless individuals to have access to safe shelters in which they can be isolated and recover. Read the full letter here and the Wall Street Journal article about the letter here.

On April 3rd, Coalition for the Homeless and other housing and health care advocates sent a letter calling on Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to open vacant hotel rooms for sick and vulnerable homeless New Yorkers during the COVID-19 crisis. Read the letter and our statement here.


People bedding down on the streets, in the subway, and in other public places are particularly vulnerable, as they have higher rates of serious health problems, are constantly exposed to the environment, and lack access to bathrooms and running water needed to simply wash their hands.

The situation is becoming dire as soup kitchens and food pantries around the city suspend operations in response to the outbreak, dramatically increasing the number of people in need on the streets.

The Coalition’s Grand Central Food Program, which distributes nutritional meals and other emergency items to 1,000 people on the street each and every night, will continue operations.

We also have a special Crisis Hotline open for homeless individuals who need immediate help finding shelter or meeting other critical needs. That number is 212-776-2177.

The Coalition’s permanent housing programs also continue to provide the dignity and safety of a home to more than 100 formerly homeless families and single adults.


    First and foremost, stay in your home and follow all guidance about hygiene and social distancing.
  • SUPPORT Home Stability Support (HSS)
    One of the most effective ways to help homeless New Yorkers right now is to urge Governor Cuomo to include Home Stability Support in the State budget. For more information, visit Say Yes to HHS!
    The Coalition for the Homeless will remain operational during this crisis, but is greatly in need of support. The current economic crisis combined with the cancelation of fundraising events leaves us much more reliant on the kindness of individual donors to help us keep our programs going. Please make a gift, if you are able: