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Urine-Nation: Homeless Resources

Helping New Yorker's in navigating the city's public and private restrooms.


We might consider homeless people to be the demographic most in need of the resources provided in this LibGuide. Although public urination was decriminalized in 2017 by the Criminal Justice Reform Act, it is still an act that results in civil court appearances and ticket fees. Can you imagine having no home, nowhere to relieve yourself, no money, and then having to pay a fine for a biological function? So, where can homeless people safely go to the bathroom?

  • Public restrooms (in parks or train stations)
  • Privately Owned Public Spaces
  • Starbucks
  • Libraries
  • Police stations

Libraries have a long history of supporting homeless constituents. As such, this LibGuide would be remiss if we did not include a list of resources available for those in need in NYC. Please scroll down to see descriptions and links to housing and outreach aid to homeless people. 

Housing and Support Resources

  • Queens Connections is a monthly meeting at Queens Central library in Jamaica that discusses housing resources and other services that they provide for homeless people. It is in partnership with the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and specifically aims to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness find temporary housing and then get back to permanent housing in a timely manner.
  • The NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS, as mentioned above) offers outreach services, prevention, and shelter directories.
  • This is a national directory of shelters around the United States. In addition to being a comprehensive list of all shelters, it also provides direction to: rental assistance programs, affordable housing resources, soup kitchens, and other key services that one experiencing homelessness would seek.
  • Housing Works is another resource local to NYC that provides wonderful services for those in need of health care, housing, career preparation, and legal services. Their mission is "to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts."