Department of Youth and Community Development Runaway and Homeless Youth Services

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Department of Youth and Community Development

Runaway and Homeless Youth Services


The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) runs a range of services for Runaway and Homeless Youth that includes Street Outreach and Referral Services, Drop-in Centers, Crisis Shelters, Transitional Independent Living programs.

DYCD’s Runaway and Homeless Youth services are designed to protect runaway and homeless youth and reunite them with their families whenever possible. We also offer specialized programming for runaway and homeless pregnant and parenting youth, sexually-exploited youth and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth. We are committed to providing all runaway and homeless young people with the resources they need to get off the streets and stabilize their lives.

Street Outreach and Referral Services:

DYCD Street Outreach program serves as a point of entry into the wider DYCD RHY system. Street Outreach focuses their efforts on locations where homeless and at risk youth are known to congregate in the evenings and at night, on weekdays and weekends. Street Outreach services are geared to target public spaces, subway stations, and transportation hubs such as those in Jamaica, Queens, Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, and the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan.

The role of Street Outreach is to distribute information about RHY services; provide resources, materials, referrals, and transport youth to their homes, shelters, or other safe locations. By developing rapport with youth in the streets and elsewhere, outreach workers directly inform RHY and youth at risk for homelessness about available services and refer youth in need of services to the Drop-In centers and other RHY programs.

Borough-Based Drop-In Centers:

Drop-In Centers are located in each of the five boroughs of New York City. The Drop-In Centers provide youth ages 14-24 with essentials needs such as food, clothing, access to counseling, support, and referrals to shelter and relevant services.

Crisis Shelters:

Crisis Shelters offer emergency shelter for runaway and homeless youth aged 16 to 21 for thirty (30) up to sixty (60) days. These voluntary, short-term residential programs provide emergency shelter and crisis intervention services aimed at reuniting youth with their families or, if family reunification is not possible, arranging appropriate transitional and long-term placements. Services offered at crisis shelters include:

  • Educational programs

  • Vocational training

  • Job placement assistance

  • Counseling

  • Basic life skills training

Transitional Independent Living:

Transitional Independent Living (TIL) facilities provide homeless youth aged 16 to 21 with support and shelter as they work to establish independence. A young person in need of these longer-term residential services should first visit our Crisis Shelter and obtain a referral to Transitional Independent Living facilities. Youth may stay in the Transitional Independent Living facilities for up to 18 months. Services offered at TILs include:

  • Educational programs

  • Vocational training

  • Job placement assistance

  • Counseling

  • Basic life skills training

Youth are transported to areas identified or needed such as home, hospital, friend’s house, family member, Drop-In Center or Crisis Shelter.

Street Outreach Program –Vans Travel throughout boroughs seeking out homeless/runaway youth providing referrals, other necessities and transportation. If identified, and the youth is interested in receiving services, the youth is transported to the Drop-In center or nearest Crisis Shelter.

Drop-In Centers – One located in each borough providing youth 14 to 24 with essentials like food, clothing and immediate shelter as well as access to counseling, support, and referrals to relevant services. 

Crisis Shelters – There are 226 Crisis beds throughout the 5 boroughs providing youth between the ages of 16 to 21 with temporary (30 days up to 60 days) shelter. Counseling is provided as well as seeking out stabilized housing, entitlement assistance, job search mental health referrals, etc.

Referrals are made to supportive housing, reunified with parents, non DYCD TIL programs, family members and/or DYCD TIL Programs.

Transitional Independent Living (TIL) Programs – There are 227 TIL beds throughout the 5 boroughs; providing shelter for youth up to 18 months. Youth are provided with housing assistance, entitlements, educational assistance, employment search, counseling, mental health services, independent living skills, etc.

Youth are usually discharge to the following: own apartment, friends relatives, reunified with parents or PATH.

Walk – In Services Youth can self-refer and access services through the Drop-In Centers and Crisis Shelters by walking in.

October 2015

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