Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Oversight of Homeless Shelters (Follow-Up)

Issued: June 27, 2017
Link to full audit report 2016-F-31
Link to 30-day response

To determine the extent of implementation of the five recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Homeless Shelters (Report 2015-S-23).

The Office administers many important programs that assist the State’s low-income residents and provides leadership, guidance, and support to county Departments of Social Services (Local Districts) in the operation of these programs. Through its Bureau of Shelter Services, the Office seeks to meet critical transitional housing needs of the State’s homeless population – estimated at more than 80,000 and comprised of families, couples, and single adults – while guiding them to self-sufficiency. Larger-scale facilities – including certain family shelters that accommodate 10 or more families and adult shelters that accommodate 20 or more individuals – require State certification. The Office certifies and directly oversees these larger-scale facilities, and is responsible for inspecting these certified shelters and ensuring they meet certain standards, as established in New York Codes, Rules and Regulations. In contrast, it has delegated authority for oversight of smaller, uncertified shelters to the Local Districts. However, the Office remains responsible for monitoring Local Districts’ oversight and inspection of uncertified shelters, and for ensuring they meet minimum standards established by State and local laws and codes.

Key Findings

  • Since our initial audit, general conditions and habitability at shelters have improved. Of the original report’s five recommendations, four have been implemented and one has been partially implemented.
  • As part of our follow-up review, we visited 20 shelters throughout the State: 11 in New York City; and the remaining 9 located throughout the rest of the State. Of the 20 shelters, 18 had been visited during the original audit. The deficiencies we observed during this follow-up review were not as severe or numerous; however, unacceptable conditions still exist and, importantly, can develop quickly.

Key Recommendation

  • While the Office has taken several positive steps, we believe continued improvement of shelter conditions can be realized with more guidance and support provided to Local Districts in the areas of shelter inspection and the correction of deficiencies.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance: Oversight of Hotels and Motels Used for Homeless and Mixed-Use Temporary Residency (2016-S-49)
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance: Oversight of Homeless Shelters (Report 2015-S-23)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236

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