OTDA Home Programs & Services Bureau of Shelter Services

Bureau of Shelter Services

The Bureau of Shelter Services (BSS) is responsible for the oversight of family and single shelters that are operated by local social services districts and/or not-for-profit organizations. This includes the development and administration of agency policies according to the State regulations that establish the standards for the operation of facilities.

The Bureau of Shelter Services reviews and approves family shelter operational plans and applications to operate shelters for single adults. The family shelter operational plan and the singles application set forth the facility’s plan for meeting the requirements contained in the associated regulations. OTDA’s oversight of the shelter program in New York includes annual and as needed inspections of all licensed facilities. BSS inspections focus on health and safety issues, including building safety and compliance with state and local codes, and the provision of programs designed to promote self-sufficiency and enable shelter residents to move to permanent or supportive housing.

In addition, fiscal and budgetary information provided by shelters and local districts is reviewed in order to establish the rates of payment to the shelters, which are adjusted periodically. Expenditures made by shelters are also monitored to ensure that funding is claimed appropriately.

Family shelters licensed by OTDA provide shelter and services to 10 or more families. These services may include private rooms, access to three nutritional meals a day, supervision, assessment services, permanent housing preparation, recreational services, information and referral services, access to health services and childcare services. Shelters serving fewer than 10 families do not need to be certified by OTDA unless the shelter is operated by a local social services district.

Shelters for single adults provide temporary residential care, room, board, supervision, information and referral, and social rehabilitation services. Shelters serving fewer than 20 individuals do not need to be certified by OTDA unless the shelter is operated by a local social services district.

Shelter Services: Forms and Regulations

For more information on Shelter Services, please email otda.sm.css.bss@otda.ny.gov or call (518) 486-4040