New York City homeless prevention programs.

Several organizations in New York City work together to provide homeless prevention programs to anyone who is threatened with an eviction, foreclosure, or other challenge, such as discrimination or unsafe apartment. The solutions available range from free legal aid to cash grants for rent or deposits, supportive housing, shelter, affordable apartments and more. All of the homeless as well as eviction prevention assistance programs are organized or even paid for by HRA, or the Human Resources Administration.

A diverse group of individuals can get help from HRA. They include immigrants, senior citizens, the disabled, or the formerly homeless who need help stabilizing into a new, more affordable permanent home. The homeless prevention is available in all parts of the city, including Queens, Brooklyn, State Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx. There is also eviction and well as foreclosure assistance for anyone who is racing a short term financial crisis which prevented them from paying their rent, mortgage, or energy bills on time.

Resources for eviction and foreclosure help as well as affordable housing in New York City

A list of the programs as well as agencies that operate them are below. Each will have their own application process as well as contact information. However most of the agencies work together to coordinate resources in the community, and HRA can refer residents to them.

Section 8 housing choice vouchers are available for a very low-income family or one living in poverty. There are rent controlled as well as income-based apartments or homes to live in. These units will require the tenant to pay some of their income towards their rent and energy bills, but the amount due is based on their income. The NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) runs this, and while not an emergency homeless prevention program, it will help a family stabilize. Dial 718-707-7771.





DHS, or the Department of Homeless Services, coordinates outreach and other emergency services. The homeless can be placed into a local New York City shelter or, in rare circumstances, be provided a voucher to pay for a motel or hotel room. There are also meals and free blankets/clothes for the homeless, information on resources to rebuild credit, employment resources, and more.

Homebase is also run by DHS. This is an eviction prevention program for low income families. The resources available range from grants to pay rent to job placement or training, security deposit help, help moving, and applications to public aid.

Free legal assistance can stop evictions and housing discrimination. There are both attorneys that work pro-bono to help the very low income and/or poor, and New York City HRA also pays for some of their own comprehensive legal resources. Much of this support is available from the New York City based Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) government funded program.





Lawyers offer a number of services in order to stop homelessness. They can represent the tenant in housing court (as a judge hears the eviction). An attorney can also ensure that the home is safe to live in and that repairs are done on time. HRS will also advocate on behalf of struggling tenants and immigrants to try to ensure that not only are the rent amounts charged fair, but that immigrants and others have access to affordable apartments to live in.

There is also legal assistance if a landlord is harassing the tenant, which could also lead to homelessness if it does not get stopped before the situation deteriorates. In addition, renters in Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn can get legal aid as part of Housing Help Program. Find additional details on free legal aid in NYC and Office of Civil Justice legal programs.

The formerly homeless can get assistance from Supportive Housing. This is administered by the Office of Supportive and Affordable Housing and Services, or OSAHS, in all boroughs. This can help families that are trying to recover from a foreclosure of their home or maybe eviction from their property. It is especially effective for the vulnerable in the city, including the disabled, senior citizens, single moms, sick, or even young adults/children.

There are two main options available for those that qualify. One is Scattered-Site Housing, and this will be offered in partnership of the city and private landlords across Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem, the Bronx and other areas. It is income based and operates like section 8, so it has eviction prevention tools build right into it. The tenant will need to pay up to 30% of their income for their utility bills and monthly rent. If not, then an eviction can occur.




The second type of Supportive Housing is known as Congregate Housing. This is more like shared housing or a dorm, and each resident gets their own apartment or mid six room in the building. It is also income based, and the tenant will need to pay up to 30% of their income to the rent or face a future eviction. Note this type of unit is often effective for the disabled or homebound, as social service staff are on site to help with other needs.

Cash grants to stop homelessness in NYC

Homeless prevention, both for tenant and homeowners, is also available as part of utility bill assistance programs. If a heating bill, water expense, or other utility goes unpaid, a family or individual can be evicted. In those instances, cash grants from Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) may be offered. Or if the tenant is elderly, disabled, mentally or physically ill, disabled, or blind, then the NYC Utility Assistance Program may offer funds to pay their utility bills.

Rent or mortgage arrears can be paid to stop the eviction or mortgage foreclosure. One is TANF cash assistance, but this is only for the very low income and is hard to get. Human Resources Administration also has other emergency rental assistance programs available, and they can help the tenant catch up to stop the eviction or there may be money to pay for moving costs too, including a security deposit.

The homeless, who are leaving a shelter, can get rental assistance from the LINC program, also known as Living in Communities. Government grants as part of SEPS or CITYFEPS Rent Supplement Program help move families or individuals into long term, permanent housing. It pays for utility and security deposits, storage costs, job programs, and other expenses needed to stabilize the individual.

Women or children in New York City who were facing domestic abuse can get help from the FHEPS, or Family Homelessness & Eviction Prevention Supplement. There may also be financial aid for those who are facing other health or safety issues, even including bed bugs or mold. It assists with mortgages to stop a foreclosure, back rent to stop evictions, or it also assists those impacted as they seek a new, affordable home or apartment to live in.





or information on how to get help stopping an eviction, free foreclosure prevention services, legal aid, and more, HRA is the primary resource. They also address housing discrimination and offer housing solutions for immigrants and refugees in NYC. The main number is 718-557-1399, or find other NYC housing resources.


By Jon McNamara

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