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A Guide About the Shelter Intake Process for Newly Arrived Migrants in NYC

The NYC shelter system requires people to be present in person at the intake location to request admission.

Fisayo Okare

Aug 21, 2022

Migrants waited in line outside of port authority on Wednesday morning after arriving on buses from Texas, as local aid groups helped them find transportation to intake centers for shelters. Photo: Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio for Documented

This summary about NYC’s shelter intake protocol was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Our WhatsApp hotline that connects with Spanish-speaking New Yorkers has received many questions from migrants who are not in New York City, but planning to travel soon and want to know about shelters. Some of them were even in Mexico when they contacted us.

We are also seeing an increase up to 50% in search queries related to this topic. Although this does not mean these people are actually traveling, we can safely say that there is an increase in interest in this information.   

That’s why Documented made a guide on how to access shelters in New York. 

Shelter intake process: The NYC shelter system requires people to be present in person at the intake location to request admission. Single men, single women, and families with children or single pregnant women each have different locations to go for intake — we detailed each of them in the guide. 

Documentation to bring to an NYC shelter intake center: Single men and women are recommended to bring a recent pay stub, if applicable, and identity-related documents. Families with children have stricter requirements. People with disabilities can request a shelter facility that best suits their needs, and the Department of Homeless Services encourages them to bring medical documentation to the intake process.

Drop-in centers: While drop-in centers do not have shelter beds for overnight stays, they can provide immigrants places to take a shower, clean their clothes, and get case management help without applying through an intake center. They are open 24/7. We have a list of some of these centers in the guide. 

Know your rights: The guide also indicates rights homeless migrants should know, including a right to be placed in shelter the same night. 

Other services: Many locations in our guide also offer other services that can be helpful for immigrants and refugees. We added each location’s contact information. 

Please pass the guide along if you think it is needed. If you have information that could be added, please respond to this email.

Documented’s Social Media and SEO Manager, Madeline Faber, and Audience Editor, Nicolás Ríos contributed reporting. 


New York

NYC announces plan to educate newly arrived migrants’ kids: Officials are now rolling out Project Open Arms with the goal of getting newly arrived kids into classrooms. — ABC Good Morning America

Around the U.S. 

Critics say the decades old phrase ‘American dream’ is being distorted by Republicans of color: A new crop of GOP candidates and elected officials are saying the phrase is dying, threatened by what they see as unchecked immigration, among other things. — New York Times

San Francisco immigration consulting business previously ordered to shut down faces new crackdown: City Attorney David Chiu filed an injunction against the business to prevent it from providing services for the next five years. — CBS News

A string of heat-related illnesses among UPS drivers has renewed calls to improve their working conditions: Government records show that the problem is not isolated: since 2015, at least 270 UPS and USPS drivers have been sickened and hospitalized from heat exposure. — The New York Times

Undocumented immigrant man sentenced to 38 years in prison for 2015 store clerk killing in Arizona: Former President Trump had used Apolinar Altamirano’s case to portray immigrants as criminals, despite studies showing immigrants are less likely to commit crime than U.S.-born people. — AP News

Washington D.C

The Biden administration remade ICE after Trump. Will it last? The changes have pleased some immigrant advocates, while others argue that ICE is still arresting and detaining too many people. — Los Angeles Times (Paywall)

Presidential advisors recommend Green Card application processing within 6 months: An advisory board of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders unanimously voted to recommend Biden to speed green card processing to six months. — National Herald

Fisayo Okare

Fisayo writes Documented’s "Early Arrival" newsletter and "Our City" column. She is an MSc. graduate of Columbia Journalism School, New York, and earned her BSc. degree in Mass Comm. from Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.




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