Addressing the Root Causes of Homelessness

How We Help the Homeless​ and Those At Risk of Homelessness

Volunteers of America-Greater New York is a major provider of services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Achieving housing stability is often the first step to addressing the underlying causes of homelessness, including behavioral health and substance use issues, domestic violence and inter-generational poverty.

While the majority of our clients are referred to us by city and state agencies, we do conduct some outreach, for instance through Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and at JFK and LaGuardia Airports.

We operate dozens of residential programs — transitional and permanent/supportive — that provide service-rich environments in which clients receive intensive case management. Case managers help clients identify their strengths and challenges and create an Independent Living Plan (ILP) to achieve their goals. The ILP is specific to the individual and may include paths to housing, education, employment, life skills development, budgeting, or securing benefits to which they are entitled.


Outreach teams engage people at JFK and LaGuardia Airports who appear homeless. Our skilled workers build a rapport with these individuals and assess their needs, with the goal of convincing these men and women to accept our help. We also conduct outreach to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families through our Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program.

Emergency Shelter

Many individuals and families need short-term stabilization before they can find housing that will meet their long-term needs. Volunteers of America-Greater New York operates programs for those who are in need of immediate shelter, allowing staff to assess and determine the services for which these men, women and children are eligible.

Transitional Housing

Transitional housing is usually the step taken after an individual or a family has entered an emergency shelter before permanent housing can be found. Most often, people in our transitional housing are referred from our veteran population or women and children in our domestic violence shelters. During this time, our staff work with these individuals and families to develop an ILP and help them obtain a more permanent living situation.

Permanent Supportive Housing

For many people who are homeless and living with physical or behavioral health challenges, permanent housing paired with intensive support services may prevent chronic homelessness.

Affordable Housing

The need for affordable housing and supportive services continues to grow, and Volunteers of America-Greater New York continues to respond by providing safe, supportive environments for some of the city's most vulnerable residents.

"If it wasn't for Volunteers of America I would be in a cardboard box somewhere with my kids...I cannot finish thanking VOA, I cannot thank them enough." - Debra, mother of three, former clients at Bushwick Family Residence.

Watch a video about Didi, a former resident of Regent Family Shelter: