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Part 1: Resources For College Students Currently Dealing with Housing Insecurity or Homelessness in NYC

Across the country, nearly 3.5 million young people experience homelessness in a given year. Experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity can have a profound impact on a young person’s ability to pursue their passions and goals, and achieve economic stability in the long run.

For New York City’s young adults, the challenges of affording to live in one of the country’s most expensive cities — especially when combined with experiences of systemic discrimination, family trauma, and inadequate support systems — can make it extremely difficult to plan for their future. Today, nearly 15 percent of CUNY students experience homelessness, and more than half have unstable housing. How do these experiences impact a young person’s ability to pursue higher education and earn a living-wage career?

Hoping to better understand how to answer to that question, we spoke with more than 80 young people across the five boroughs about housing insecurity, and how it can impact college access and success. We heard about the stresses of unstable housing, and how colleges, housing providers, and other programs can be inflexible to the reality of those stresses.

These conversations highlight a lot of important changes that need to be made to ensure New York’s higher education works for today’s students. But they also highlight the resourcefulness of young New Yorkers, and the knowledge many had — and wanted to share! — about existing supports for young people experiencing housing insecurity in New York as well as organizations working to change systems. We worked with some of these young people to compile this list of resources. 

Have any feedback on this list, or want to get more involved? Reach out to Young Invincibles’ Northeast Policy Analyst, Melanie Kruvelis:

This post was written by YI-Northeast Policy Fellow and MSW Elena Callahan and Carina Taveras, a 2019 graduate of Hunter College and organizer with the Welfare Rights Initiative.

Resources and Supports to Help You Stay in College (See Our Post on the Application Process and Financial Aid)

New York has several Opportunity Programs to make college more affordable, some that cover the costs beyond tuition. You can speak with someone at CUNY for more info here.

Opportunity Programs



Independent Colleges and Universities

Resources on CUNY Campuses

Resource Guides

Emergency Grants

  • Carol and Milton Petrie Student Emergency Grant Fund 
    • On your school’s website search for this fund which may provide a grant based on several situations including homelessness or sudden loss of housing.

Public Assistance

  • CUNY Edge (for those on public assistance, they support you with academics, getting your benefits, and more). Apply for HRA (public benefits) here. 
  • Single Stop (Currently on community college campuses and John Jay College). 

On-Campus Housing

  • For foster care youth — The Dormitory Project (NY Foundling & Queens College Partnership)
  • Medgar Evers provides shelter assistance for homeless students.
    • See the video here about Medgar Evers Transition Academy
    • To find out more about the way that Medgar Evers supports homeless/housing insecure students contact: 
      • Director of Transition Academy Dr. Edward Hernandez, Student Support Specialist Waleek Boone at and 718-270-6988

Students with Disabilities


Women’s Centers at CUNY

Mental Health


Leadership Programs

Undocumented Students, Dreamers

  • CUNY Dreamers (a network of support for undocumented students)
  • NYS Dream Act passed allowing undocumented students to apply for state aid! (see more on Part 2 of this post)

Student Advocacy/Organizing on Campuses in CUNY

Other Resources in NYC


Seeking Permanent Housing?


LGBTQ Homeless Youth

Public Benefits 

For Parents

Foster Care

  • New Yorkers For Children runs the Back to School Package Program, which connects former foster youth with a laptop, MetroCard, and a gift card for textbooks. 


Mental Health Organizations and Housing

Domestic Violence Organizations and Housing

Advocacy and Organizing That Intersects With Housing Insecurity and Post-secondary Access