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New Immigrants in NYC: Where To Find Shelter, Legal Help, Food and More

There are many organizations who are eager to help asylum seekers in New York City. Share this guide with others who are new to the city and need help finding housing, food, and lawyers.

Share this guide with immigrants who are new to NYC and need help finding housing, shelter, food, and lawyers.

We are the only newsroom dedicated to working with immigrants in New York City. We write articles about issues that affect them, and we run a community on WhatsApp where people can contact Documented journalists with their questions and concerns. We don’t always have the answer, but we will try to connect you with organizations that can help as you settle into NYC. Send us a message through WhatsApp.

Asylum seekers who have arrived to the City since January 1, 2022, and can provide paperwork demonstrating that they entered the U.S. Southwest border, can also reach out to the Asylum Seeker Resource Navigation Center. The center can provide information and service referrals for enrolling in health insurance, mental health counseling, IDNYC and more. To schedule an appointment call (888) 744-7900.

Support for immigrants: These organizations are dedicated to working with immigrants.

How immigrants can access shelter in NYC: You cannot reserve a spot at a shelter in advance. You have to show up to a shelter intake center in person and they will direct you to an available bed.

What to know about working while undocumented: Even if working in the cash economy, workers are entitled to minimum wage.

Where to get free food: Please note that some shelters do not allow outside food.

How to access your consulate: Most consulates have a direct contact for emergency situations. If you need your passport for an immigration court hearing, your consulate should be able to expedite your request.

Mental health support: You can always dial 988 to talk to someone for free if you are in a mental health crisis. Your information will always be kept confidential.

How to see a doctor: There is free and low-cost health care access available for immigrants in NYC.

If you do not have identification: IDNYC is a card given by New York City that anyone can use as identification regardless of their immigration status. You can use this card to access city programs, like a reduced-fee Metro card.

Banking in NYC: You can open a bank account at certain banks with an IDNYC, passport, or an ITIN number. A social security number is not needed.

State of New York driver’s license: All New Yorkers can apply to get their driver’s license even if they are not citizens or legal permanent residents.

Learn English for free: There are free classes available to learn English. Some of these classes are in person and others are held online.

If you have a disability: These organizations can help you if you have a disability. If you are staying in a shelter and have a disability, you are entitled to certain accommodations.

If you are LGBTQ: These are some of the groups in NYC that can help LGBTQ immigrants with asylum cases, healthcare services and more.

Find a Friend or Family Member: When immigrants enter ICE detention they may be unable to reach their loved ones. Here’s how to locate them.

How to Check Your Status: It may take years for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services system to process an asylum case.

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