New York City Department of Homeless Services

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Department of Homeless Services
Department overview
Jurisdiction New York City
Headquarters 33 Beaver Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10004[1]
Employees 1,949 (2015)[2]
Annual budget $1.07 billion (2016)[2]
Department executive
  • Steven Banks [3], Acting Commissioner
Child department
Key document

The New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is an agency within the government of New York City[4] that provides services to the homeless, though its ultimate aim is to overcome homelessness.[5] The guiding principles of the department were outlined at a 1992 New York City Commission on the Homeless: to operate an emergency shelter system for people without housing alternatives, provide services and resources to assist shelter residents in gaining independent housing, and partner with local agencies and non-profits to provide these services.[6] Its two rules are compiled in title 31 of the New York City Rules; state regulations are primarily compiled in title 18 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations.


NYC DHS operates a group of NYS Peace Officers who enforce State and City laws on DHS property, the NYC DHS Police who are responsible for safety and security inside of NYC DHS Homeless Shelters.

Administrative reviews ("Fair Hearings") are handled by the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Office of Administrative Hearings.[7]


  • Single Adult Shelters
  • Adult Family Shelters
  • Family with Children Shelters
  • Domestic Violence for victims Shelters
  • Vitamins Shelters??
  • Senior Citizens Shelters

In 2010, the department oversaw 208 facilities with 18,616 beds and served 113,553 unique individuals.[8] In 2015, the department's budget was $953.5 million.[2]

Analysis and criticism[edit]

In a March 2015 report of the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) on shelters for families with children, the DOI "found that the family shelters it inspected and reviewed are too often unsafe and unhealthy for children and families".[9][10] Some homeless say they are denied shelter because the shelter lacks resources for couples without children, and some say they refuse to live in shelters because they are unsafe, because of violence, theft and poor conditions.[11][12][13]


When the department was created in 1993, New York City was the first city to have a city department that was exclusively focused on the issue of homelessness.[6] The Department of Homeless Services was created in response to the growing number of homeless New Yorkers and the 1981 New York Supreme Court Consent Decree that mandates the State provide shelter to all homeless people.[14] Its first commissioner was Charles V. Raymond.[15] Muzzy Rosenblatt, the agency's first Chief of Staff, may have had a role in convincing Mayor David Dinkins that the homeless shelters could be run more efficiently were it a separate department from the New York City Human Resources Administration. On April 11, 2016, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that the department would again become a part of the New York City Human Resources Administration under what he termed "a joint operating agreement.".[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Report on the Fiscal Year 2015 Executive Budget for the Department of Homeless Services, New York City Council
  3. ^ Commissioner Diamond's Bio on
  4. ^ New York City Charter § 610; "There shall be a department of homeless services, the head of which shall be the commissioner of homeless services."
  5. ^ "New York City Department of Homelessness Services - About". New York City Department of Homelessness Services. Retrieved 2010-02-28. 
  6. ^ a b Campbell, G.; McCarthy, E. (2000). "Conveying Mission Through Outcome Measurement: Services to the Homeless in New York City". Policy Studies Journal. 28 (2): 338–352. doi:10.1111/j.1541-0072.2000.tb02034.x. 
  7. ^ "Fair Hearings". New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "New York City Department of Homelessness Services - Critical Activities Report 2010" (PDF). New York City Department of Homelessness Services. Retrieved 2011-02-21. 
  9. ^ New York City Department of Investigation (12 March 2015), DOI Investigation of 25 City-Run Homeless Shelters for Families Finds Serious Deficiencies (PDF) 
  10. ^ Hu, Winnie (12 March 2015). "Review of New York Shelter System Finds Hundreds of Violations". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Upadhye, Janet (25 March 2014). "Tillary Street Women's Shelter Rife With Violence, Residents Say". 
  12. ^ Villaseñor, María (16 February 2015). "Homeless men share why they prefer the streets over New York City shelters — even when cold weather hits". New York Daily News. 
  13. ^ Schweber, Nate (6 September 2015). "Life on the Streets". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ "The Callahan Consent Decree" (PDF). 
  15. ^ Dugger, Celia W. (1993-07-26). "Homeless Shelters Drain Money From Housing, Experts Say". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 
  16. ^ Stewart, Nikita (2016-04-11). "New York City Combining Agencies for Homeless and Welfare Services". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-13. 

External links[edit]