Free Shelter: Where to Stay in New York Without Expenses

12:24 pm  |  23.01.2024

We tell you where are places in New York for a free overnight stay. They may not be perfect, but they are achievable. If you’re unsure where to go, use this article to help find accommodations.


Your first night in New York can be an unforgettable experience if you opt to spend it at the airport. With planes taking off and landing every minute, and a plethora of interesting individuals around, the atmosphere is homely and devoid of pretension. 

The baggage claim and waiting areas, surprisingly, become a comfortable and safe haven for many, especially the carpeted zones. Quick decisions are crucial, as desirable spots are claimed rapidly. The less decisive may be in less comfortable areas, like the dog walking space near the entrance.

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It’s noteworthy that JFK Airport operates 24/7, causing no hindrance, while LaGuardia is closed from 00:30 to 4:30. Although this means restricted access during closure hours, those already inside won’t be evicted.

Accommodation in Shelters: Where to Find Accommodation in New York for Free

If you’re arriving before 23:00, there’s an opportunity for a free night’s stay. Initially booked into the main shelter in Manhattan, you’re later directed to temporary accommodation for the night and eventually assigned to shelters in Brooklyn, Queens, or the new five-story facility in the Bronx.

  • For Men: HRA Men’s Shelter +1(718) 557-1399, 400 E 30th St, New York, NY 10016
  • For Women: The Dwelling Place Women’s +1(212) 564-7887, 409 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
  • For Families (Brooklyn): The Kensington Family Shelter +1(718) 226-0425, 385 McDonald Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218
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New York law mandates municipal authorities to provide shelter to anyone seeking help. While neighbors may also be struggling for better housing, a calm demeanor allows for temporary settlement. Some individuals reportedly reside in these shelters for extended periods, up to six months or more.

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Spending the night on subway cars is an option as the New York subway operates 24/7. Opt for safer subway lines, avoiding trains with numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and preferring Q, N, D, F, and R. Dress warmly, considering air conditioning in summer and potentially inadequate heating in winter. Your appearance matters; a slightly unkempt or seemingly problematic look is advantageous. Being a man or not traveling alone is also safer.

In subway conflicts, passengers exit the problematic car; intervention is rare. Instead, the police are called, but response time varies, so self-reliance is essential.

Subway Stations and Other Places: Where to Stay in New York City?

Sleeping on benches or floors, as in airports, may be uncomfortable due to the prevalence of homeless people and drug addicts using public spaces for indecent acts. Central Park is not recommended for overnight stays, and other areas in Manhattan may expose you to undesirable individuals.

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If you have a little more than $200

A small amount can be the difference between homelessness and a comfortable living space. Treat yourself to a decent 7-day stay with showers and free Wi-Fi at one of our hostels in Brooklyn, allowing time to find a job and overcome financial difficulties.

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