The Department of Homeless Services oversees shelter placement and the providers who operate many of the shelters in New York City. While clients have certain rights regarding their shelter placement, DHS also has certain rules regarding transfers that are important for clients to understand.
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.
Only DHS can authorize shelter transfers.
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. Administrative transfers cannot be challenged.
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.
You can also read DHS’ transfer policy and download a flyer outlining your rights. If you need help requesting a transfer you can come into the Crisis Intervention Program (create link to Crisis page) to speak with an advocate