COVID-19 Resources for the Homeless, Immigrants, Refugees and the Disabled

by Deirdre Appel

While COVID-19 may not discriminate, demographics, income, and other circumstances not only put certain communities at higher risk of contracting the virus but also present specific challenges for coping with daily life. New Yorkers, particularly those such as the homeless, immigrants and refugees, or the disabled, who in normal circumstances rely on public social services, are being forced to reevaluate and readjust.

Below is a list of resources to help such New Yorkers stay safe and fed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more details and information specific to your neighborhood, please refer to our Coronavirus Neighborhood Guides. The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center is updating this page regularly and adding new neighborhoods.

If you or someone you know has additional questions or is facing hunger or food insecurity, please contact us at or call the following organizations:

  • Emergency Food Hotline: 866-888-8777
  • Shelter or Temporary Housing Assistance: 3-1-1

Resources for Homeless People 

Find shelter in NYC through the Coalition for the Homeless, Project STAY and ShelterList. Call the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) 24-hour hotline at (212)-361-0584 or the Prevention Assistance and Temporary Housing (PATH) office, also 24/7, at 917-521-3900, for additional direction.

For a list of shelters, transitional housing, and services for homeless people in a specific neighborhood, please visit our Neighborhood Guides. The NYC Food Policy center will be continuously calling to check for openings. 

Resources for Immigrant Populations

The resources below come primarily from A Guide to Community-Based Organizations for Immigrants.

While many food pantries and soup kitchens require ID under normal circumstances, some organizations are making exceptions for the state of emergency and extending their services to everyone in need, regardless of documentation. 

The following resources offer services for which ID/official residence is never required:

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York

Languages: English, Spanish

1011 First Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022

Phone: (888) 744-7900

Provides services for children, the homeless and hungry, families, and individuals with disabilities, and assists with crisis resolution and immigrant and refugee integration through legal counseling, English and civics classes, and work authorization.

Damayan Migrant Workers Association

Languages: English, Tagalog

406 West 40th St. 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018

Phone: (212) 564-6057

Helps labor trafficking survivors to develop escape plans, secure emergency housing and financial assistance, access social and legal services, find employment, and facilitate family reunifications.

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Languages: English, French, Polish, Spanish 

505 8th Ave. #1212, New York, NY 10018 

Phone: (347) 645-9339

Assists LGBTQIA GNC & TS individuals coming out of immigration detention to secure social support and services.

Refugee Services

Refugee Services (RS) within the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is the single state agency responsible for the implementation of services to refugees.

  • Find a program for refugees here
  • Contact RS for information about services at (518) 402-3096. 

Resources for People with Disabilities

Coronavirus is putting immense pressure on mobile and delivery services throughout New York City. Below are resources for people with disabilities who may already rely on these services and/or need extra support during this time. Please call or email before visiting for updates about their services.

Center for Independence of the Disabled NY Currently via telephone only.

  • Manhattan office: 212-674-2300.
  • Queens office: 646-442-1520.

If they are unable to speak with you when you call, leave a message. They will return all calls as soon as they are able.

Crisis Services/Mental Health: Mobile Crisis Teams

A mobile crisis team is a group of health professionals, such as nurses, social workers and psychiatrists, who can provide mental health services, primarily in people’s homes.

  • To request a team, call NYC Well at (888) NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)

Helping Hands for the Disabled of NY

  • Action Line: Available 9am – 9pm seven days a week at 718-606-9712
  • Food Pantry for Disabled People: They can bring food to you. Call 718-606-9712

NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

Disability Service Facilitators can be contacted via email or ASL video phone, which may be helpful for people who are unable to hear and/or speak

  • NYC Mayor’s Office
    • Ms. Noel Haight
    • Voice Phone: 212-788-2548
    • ASL Video Phone: 646-396-5830
    • Email:
  • Department of Health & Mental Hygiene:
    • Jorge Martinez, Esq
    • Voice Phone: 347-396-6067
    • Email:
  • Department for the Aging
    • Kim Hernandez
    • Voice Phone: 212-602-4197
    • Email:
  • Department of Homeless Services
    • Elizabeth A. Iannone
    • Voice Phone: 929-221-6617
    • Email:
  • Department of Transportation
    • Denise Ramirez
    • Voice Phone: 212-839-3260
    • Email:

Office for People with Developmental Disabilities: The Front Door

The Front Door is the way OPWDD connects people to the services they need and want.  Once you enter, you begin a personalized planning process that helps you learn about and access service options that meet  your particular needs and desires. You will also have the opportunity to direct your own service plan or help your family member or loved one as they direct theirs.

  • The first step: Determine eligibility
  • If eligible to receive services, begin the planning process
  • Support and service options available: residential, employment, day habilitation, children’s services and aging services.

Contact the OPWDD regional office that covers your county (Manhattan 646-766-3220) to access the Front Door, or call the OPWWD Info Line at 1-866-946-9733.

Olmstead Rights: New York Disability Resources and Advocacy Organizations

  • Links to government agencies and disability rights organizations in New York.
  • Email:

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