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The Homeless System on Long Island- "The Big picture"

If you have questions about the homeless response system on Long Island, 

Please reach out directly to our Continuum of Care Planning and Coordination Staff: here

What Does Homelessness Look Like on Long Island?

Overview of Homelessness on Long Island:

The overwhelming majority of resources funded locally to address someone's housing crisis have an eligibility requirement that households are experiencing literal homelessness (they are living unsheltered with no where else to go and no resources, or they are residing in an emergency shelter). Most HUD-funded resources are prioritized first for those that have been experiencing literal homelessness the longest and have the greatest barriers to exiting homelessness. For resources for households at-risk of becoming homeless, but not experiencing literal homelessness, please see "At-Risk of Homelessness" resources below. 

For households that are experiencing literal homelessness and living unsheltered, LICH has a team of street outreach workers that cover areas in Suffolk County and Nassau County. Please leave a message for the street outreach team at 631-464-4314 x 118.

How many people are experiencing homelessness at any time on Long Island?

There are approximately 500 families with children in shelter (33% reduction since COVID-19, and continued six year steady decrease), and over 1,100 single adults in shelter (single adult homelessness has increased or remained the same, year over year). There are some seasonal winter shelter programs for single adults living outside in the cold with nowhere to go such as Maureen's Haven (Riverhead/East End) and HIHI (Huntington) that provide emergency respite during the coldest months at rotating church locations. There are currently no emergency shelters for families that are not through DSS. 

For households that are experiencing literal homelessness and currently residing in an emergency shelter, LICH has a process in place where they are continually identifying households in shelter that are experiencing chronic homelessness (homeless over one year and disabled), and all families with children that are homeless more than one year. These households are automatically assigned to LICH Housing Navigators (for chronically homeless single adults), or added to a rapid rehousing waiting list (families homeless one year or more).

Of the approximate 1,100 single adults in shelter at any time, about 450 have been homeless for more than one year and all are connected to a LICH housing navigator, or on a waitlist to work with a housing navigator, as additional support beyond shelter case management. Of the approximate 500 families in shelters at any time, about 125-175 have been in shelter for one year or more and are all on the rapid rehousing waitlist. LICH street outreach teams are additionally engaging about 120-150 singe adults that are living unsheltered, of the projected 300-400 people that are living unsheltered at any time (steady increase since COVID-19).


By County: Suffolk County has a sheltered homeless and street homeless population that is twice as large as Nassau County (2 out of 3 people in shelter on LI are in Suffolk, and over 2 out of 3 people on the street on LI are in Suffolk), however, there are more households experiencing long-term homelessness in Nassau County. People placed in motels (Nassau only) remain homeless, on average, 2.5 times as long, some for longer than five years, and ongoing. 

LICH's Key Roles- Continuum of Care and Coordinated Entry:                    

LICH is the Continuum of Care (CoC) Consolidated Applicant for Long Island and is responsible to annually submit an extensive regional planning grant for about $15 million dollars as well as detailed reports on homelessness on LI throughout the year to HUD (federal). Long Island competes with all other regions in the United States for Continuum of Care funding and then has an annual open funding process to renew existing programs and create new programs when any additional money exists. Through this process, LICH has increased annual funding for the region by about $3 million dollars over the last few years- which has created more permanent supportive housing for families and single adults, and more rapid rehousing for families and victims of domestic violence.

Continuum of Care funds are for permanent housing programs only (not for shelters or transitional housing)- permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing. LICH applies for this money but does not determine which programs receive the funds. A non-biased Ranking Committee (cannot be anyone connected with any agency applying for funds) reviews all applications and prioritizes funding for programs that meet the greatest unmet needs in the region and have the strongest program model to support populations served. Any 501 C 3 with a federal DUNS number (required for any federal contract) can apply for specific permanent housing programs that best meet community needs. The consensus priority for the last few years has been to fund new permanent supportive housing, however, there have been few applicants.

Within the Continuum of Care, there are many committees such as a Governance Board (local policy and planning), Ranking Committee (application review), Street Outreach Committee (street outreach partners), Veteran Committee (Veteran partners), Coordinated Entry Steering Committee (procedures), and other committees that convene as needed. It is a priority for all committees to include more people with lived experience with homelessness and to be diverse and inclusive. There are also monthly CoC Business meetings (open public meetings) to discuss updates on funding, Coordinated Entry, trainings and resources, agency presentations and other shared resources.

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racial equity in our numbers

If you have questions about our racial equity outcomes on Long Island, 

Please reach out directly to our Continuum of Care Planning and Coordination Staff: here

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engagement and connection to services

If you have questions about how we engage and connect people experiencing homelessness to services on Long Island, 

Please reach out directly to our Continuum of Care Planning and Coordination Staff: here

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Interested in learning more?

If you would like us to present to you and your staff about the homeless system on LI and how it works,

Please reach out directly to our Continuum of Care Planning and Coordination Staff: here

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