Anyone from New York knows the cost of living here is ridiculously expensive, but in the past two years, it seems to have gotten even harder for most to get by. The increase in rent has now left many wondering how they are going to care for their families and still keep a roof over their head. Many have been forced to turn to the NYC DHS Shelter system just to make sure their children have a bed to sleep in at night. Even tho PATH Homeless Shelter was created to help families in need, it’s not easy by any means to receive help from them. So I did my research and decided to come up with a Tip Guide to help anyone who may need this information. The biggest thing is people don’t know where to apply, so let’s start with that. PATH Homeless Shelter is located at 151 East 151st Bronx NY 10451. The nearest train stations are the 2 train to 149th st Grand Concourse or the 4 & D trains to 161st Yankee Stadium. Here is a checklist of things you will need to get the process started.
1. All members that will be residing with you in the shelter must be present at the time of applying.
2. Birth Certificates, Social Security Cards, & Passports or State ID is needed for all applicants.
3.Eviction notice & or a notarized letter from the person you were previously residing with explaining why you can no longer reside there. If you have a domestic violence case make them aware and bring any restraining orders or police reports you have.
4.Any proof of income you have whether it be Paystubs, SSI, etc. etc.
Be prepared to be there all day because the application process is about 8 to 9 hours long. Make sure you come prepared with a portable charger if possible because there are no outlets available for you. Outside food is also not allowed in the building. They do provide small snacks and sandwiches throughout the day. I suggest, that when you come to apply that you arrive as early as 6 am to avoid the hassle of not being able to finish the process. If you don’t get through the entire process, that day they will put you somewhere overnight and you will have to return there the next day to finish. Keep in mind, that you don’t get a choice on where you will be placed. You can be sent to any of the five boroughs including Staten Island. It would be in your best interest to pack as light as possible only the everyday essentials because it takes 14 days to be fully approved after placement. So the shelter you’re placed in at first might, may not be your permanent placement. DHS will go to your previous residence to check if you are indeed really homeless and in need of shelter. If denied, the shelter you’re placed in will notify you to return to PATH where you will speak to one of their lawyers in an attempt to prove yourself eligible. If denied again you are entitled to re-apply again on the spot. Do not let anyone there tell that you can’t re-apply. The system will try to discourage you as much as possible but don’t let them beat you down. I know a lot of you are probably wondering what you can take into a shelter sadly it’s not a lot. Most shelters only allow you to have two huge garbage bags per person on the family composition. For example, if there is four of you in a household your allowed 8 bags upon intake. So this is why I say take only the essentials. If you can afford to pay for a monthly storage unit or have someone willing to hold your belongings then that is the best way to go. DHS does offer you free storage but what they don’t tell you is that if you take the free storage you become ineligible for a furniture voucher when you find permanent housing. Here is a list of things most shelters Do Not allow.
1. No furniture that was not provided by them.
2. No TV’s larger than 32 inches
3.No AC’s or portable heaters
4. No appliances such as coffee makers or microwaves.
Depending on the facility you are placed in rules may change. Most shelters have a 10 pm curfew that you must abide by. There are exceptions made to a curfew for those who work and some others are made for other circumstances such as hospitalization as well as children who have documented visitation with parents outside of the shelter. Once you are placed, you have a few days to meet with the caseworker assigned to you at that shelter. You will need to provide your caseworker with all documents listed in the first checklist above. Along with those documents, you also have to provide school letters, immunization, and medical physicals for all children. A welfare public assistance case will be needed to reside at the shelter, so if you don’t already have one they will instruct you to get one. Your public assistance case must stay active the entire time you reside at the shelter because welfare is the one that pays your rent for the shelter. Failure to follow their rules and terms can result in a violation. You could be logged out and sent back to PATH to start all over again. After meeting with your caseworker you will also meet with a housing specialist to start a plan towards permanent housing. According to your income, personal needs, and whether or not you were evicted, you qualify for different programs. For example, if you are low income and work more than 35 hours a week separately or as a couple, you may qualify for a Linc Voucher a rent subsidy program. If you were evicted, you may qualify for City Feps a rent supplement program. If you or someone in your family composition has a mental illness and/or substance disorder you may qualify for Supportive Housing affordable, permanent and independent housing. Not all shelters are up to par so there are some inconveniences you will come across such bugs, rodents, and many other issues. If you are ever placed in a shelter where the living conditions are unbearable report the facility to DHS right away. Be sure to take photos and document all of your complaints. Keep a record of any documents they give you, confirmation numbers and emails you sent. Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is located at 33 Beaver St New York, NY 10004 (212) 361-8000. Now keep in mind that a shelter is temporary so remember never to get too comfortable. Do not depend on just the caseworkers and housing specialist to provide you with a permanent home. You have to be dedicated to do the footwork and search for your own place with little to no real help. So in conclusion nothing about the shelter process is easy but if you make the best of it, save up your money, abide by their rules and terms while taking advantage of the program you qualify for, then you can bring yourself a few steps closer to surviving in the Concrete Jungle (well at least as far as your rent goes).
BonnieSpeaksInc@gmail.com Email me for any advice, topics want to be researched or questions you want to hear my opinion on #AskBonnieSpeaks