With a record 54,667 homeless people in New York City today, there is a serious need for shelters in the city. The Department of Homeless Services has to open up shelters on a regular basis to keep up with the demand for a safe place to sleep. But who decides where homeless shelters go? And why are some boroughs taking on more shelters than others? 

CUP worked with teaching artist Patrick Rowe and students from College Now at Hostos to dig into this question. Using their investigative journalism skills, they interviewed the Department of Homeless Services, an advocacy group, a Community Board, a shelter provider, and a City Council member. They’ve created this poster to share what they learned about shelter siting, and the different opinions they heard along the way.

Students presented their work at the Bronx Museum to a packed crowd. They fielded questions from an enthusiastic audience and even a journalist. At the end, everyone went home with a free poster.

You can get your own poster here.

What People Are Saying

“This summer, I learned not only about homeless people and homeless issues, but also about how the city runs, and who decides what the processes are.” — Rafael Monroy-Rojas, student 

“This project reinforced my belief that young people can tackle really difficult questions and come up with meaningful, insightful artworks and design to teach others. Every day they would come up with new ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe this is going on’ or ‘I’ve never thought about this stuff ever.’" — Patrick Rowe, teaching artist

Resources & Links

College Now is a free City University of New York program designed to prepare NYC’s public high school students for success in college. This project was hosted by College Now at Hostos Community College.

The NYC Department of Homeless Services provides emergency shelter for individuals and families who have no other housing options available.

Picture the Homeless is a grassroots organization founded and led by homeless people. 

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the CUNY College Now Program. Additional support was provided by Deutsche Bank and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Jose Rodriguez (Bronx Community Board 4); Sam Miller, Jean Rice, Kendall Jackman, Maria Walles, Pedro Cabrera (Picture the Homeless), Eddie LaGuerre (NAICA, Inc.), Lisa Black (NYC Department of Homeless Services); Steve Levin (New York City Council); David Barker; Kevin Carrol; Anj Chaudry; Rebecca Chew; Ellen Hailey; Elizabeth Hurst; Christopher Miller; Matt Ojala; Melanie Quiroz; Victoria Shire; James Whitman; Sarah Zuiderveen


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Patrick Rowe

  • Teaching Artist Assistant
  • Amauris Hernandez
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Project Support
  • Christine Gaspar
  • Pema Domingo-Barker
  • Oscar Nuñez
  • Shauna Badeker
  • Jacob Hernandez

  • CUNY College Now at Hostos
  • Students
  • Fatou Boye

    Roenny Bravo

    Chyon Burke

    Maria Guzman-Ellis

    Shakime Nemhard

    David Rivera

    Hawa Sambe

    Glen Santana

    Jakia Sultana

    Emanuel Torres

    Linda Yunda

    • Project Support
    • Elizabeth Wilson
    • Samantha Sinclair
    • Christine Coronado
    • Marino Corniel
    • Lawrence Anderson