Even in their deepest moments of crisis, people who are homeless in New York City have rights, from the principled (the right to practice one’s religion) to the practical (the right to a bathroom that’s cleaned twice a day). And when a government agency coordinates where you live, and nonprofit agencies manage the daily routine in that place, there are dozens of ways each day that decent living might depend on everyone knowing what those rights are.

The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, the Safety Net Activists, the Center for Urban Pedagogy and design studio 13 milliseconds this week released a pamphlet outlining the rights that homeless individuals and families have in New York City.

It covers everything from privacy to diet, voting to disabilities, public benefits to income savings; explains supportive housing and vouchers; talks about how to get a fair hearing and how to seek permanent affordable housing.

You can download a copy here.

7 thoughts on “A Guide to Your Rights in Homeless Shelters

  1. I live in Hawaii and on Maui at a homeless shelter. This place seems to get a kick to have power over they call ” the guest” lives. They kick out families with children instead of helping they are part of the homeless. The staff feel they have the power to change rules make up rules as they go along. The drug use of staff is off the chain. They are also selling drugs to the tenants. There is more

  2. I live in NYC ALL MY LIFE been with HRA since the age of 19 or so now I’m 32 & just two years ago life felt it was gonna be okay me finally finding a Apt and settling in,Happiest times of my life. BUT January 1 New Year’s Day 2020 my program been cut off no budget no program no insurance HRA. Cut me off even tho they are all I knew and actually saved my life. Now 3 months still in my apt rent haven’t been paid landlord sending letters & court is next. I have no one or know what to do. I can’t go outside due my anxiety of me losing the only thing I have and what use to bed my safe zone and due to other health issues. Top it off with Coronavirus now here in nyc. THE HRA CENTER ABOUT TO KILL ME THE SAME WAY they helped me :/ PLEASE SOME ONE REACH OUT

    • Due to the virus, all evictions activity is stopped for 90 days. That gives you 90 days to reach out to HRA and get some aid. Do not move out. Do not go to shelter. Call the Safety Net Activists. Get counseling by calling 311 through Thrive NYC. Use this time to get yourself better.

  3. I live in NYC and i was kicked out of the shelter because i couldnt get my medication. It all started cz i was in the hotel shelter taking a shower and the maid walked in without knocking and tried to rush me out. So i yelled at her to go away( the doors are sliding doors for the bathroom and you can see right into the glass door of the shower) she banged on the door to rush me out and then called security. The whole situation escalated and i was trying to get ready to go to the doctors to get my medication(psych meds) the supervisor Then told me if i dont come back with my meds that they are sending back to the assessment shelter. I couldn’t get my meds that day but i had a note saying i could get it the next day from my doctor. They kicked me out and i went to the assessment shelter and they told me that there’s no transfer for me. They called the hotel and no answer and then told me they cant help me. My privacy, HIPPA rights and personal rights were all violated that night. And its been 2 days since then and im on the street. It took longer to get my meds and i finally get them tomorrow but its pointless now because i was illegally evicted from a shelter because i couldnt get medication that has NOTHING TO DO with the system itself. Its personal and my own mental health medical history so why did the GLO best western in Brooklyn owned by the BRC mistreat me, harrass me and violate all my rights and then THEY’RE GETTING AWAY WITH IT. I just found out they marked me down as not showing up for curfew when THATS A LIE. If the cameras were checked it would show me entering at 630. Them telling me i cant enter without my meds(thats illegal) and i went up to my room to pack my stuff. Then i was escorted out the building by police at 730 pm. So how did i miss curfew when they removed me from the building JUST BECAUSE I DIDNT HAVE MY PSYCH MEDS.. YET!! So Ive been mistreated so badly and i just feel hopeless. Im not liable for anything i do.. I dont want pity.. I just wanted to vent

  4. Well I’m in a family shelter with my husband (with no kids) and this building is a regular building in NYC, they have a guard at the entrance door, who with a wand searches you, if you have a bag they want you to open it and then they let you in the building. This is our right to privacy, here they invade your privacy. Down stairs the door way and the building is not that big for any of them to search residents and violate their privacy. It’s winter now and no one wants to be waiting out in the cold to be searched.

  5. In Washington State, King County specifically. When a “guest” violates the agreement they signed when they moved into the shelter/center, when the agreement carefully outlines “situations that are subject to immediate termination?” what are the rights of the non-profit that have offered them assistance in many ways?

  6. I am so sorry that they treated you that way. It’s insensitive and awful to say the least.i would have been infuriated at the person just waltzing in while I was naked and what not. How dare anyone do that. It’s bad enough that you had to be in a shelter as it is and that alone could make a person need meds. I’m so so very sorry. I pray that things are better.

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