What Are My Rights to a Transfer?

Due to the public health crisis posed by COVID-19, Crisis Intervention walk-in services are temporarily closed.

In order to stay healthy and safe, we suggest staying indoors in a shelter, traveling as little as possible, and keeping a safe distance between yourself and others.

If you have a question about accessing shelter or other services, including if you have been denied access to shelter, please call 1-888-358-2384, the Crisis Intervention emergency hotline, and leave a detailed message, including your phone number. We will do our best to respond to you as soon as possible. Please note that the Crisis Intervention Program is based in NYC and only able to respond to questions regarding NYC services.

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.

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.

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. 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.