The rarity of charitable healthcare

The Floating Hospital provides charitable, supportive patient-centered and trauma informed care services to families living in NYC’s homeless shelters and domestic violence safe houses.

We share – with many others – the concern about financial mismanagement in the homeless services sector, raised by The New York Post in an editorial last week.

But not all nonprofits profiteering off the homeless.

As the editorial points out, reputable and financially responsible charities play a critical role in helping New York City to fight homelessness, and also help to counter waste and fraud within the sector.

Charitable healthcare… and savings

In order to deliver the most effective care to a high-need population, The Floating Hospital has always offered “more than healthcare” – including free transport to and from our main clinic for families in homeless shelters across all five boroughs, nutritious meals, clothing and shoes, childcare items such as diapers, school supplies, personal hygiene kits and other essentials.

Because The Floating Hospital provides a high rate of charity care (20%, ten times higher than the typical U.S. non-profit hospital) and many free supportive services, each year we achieve only a modest budget surplus at best.

Any revenue that comes in above our balanced-budget projections is reinvested in our programs and services.

We are determined to maintain our high rate of charity care services for homeless families, especially since truly charitable healthcare services have become increasingly rare.

In fact, as we meet our patients’ full needs (not just treating their obvious medical needs), we generate $24 million in annual savings for the Medicaid system, through the delivery of quality care to Medicaid patients at lower costs than the typical provider.

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A timeless mission

There’s a growing recognition on the part of healthcare providers that medical care only accounts for about 20%, at most, of a person’s health; in order to maintain health, people’s basic needs have to be met as well.

This truth was the impetus for The Floating Hospital’s launch in 1866, just a year after the Civil War.

Then our mission—to serve everyone, regardless of who they were, where they came from or if they could pay—was prescient and extraordinary.

We’re one of the last of our kind in NYC and have been true to our mission, continuing our work today through community charity. We still serve everyone who walks through our doors.

Embracing a hopeful future

Through our extensive health education programs, we guide people towards personal responsibility, giving them means to take care of themselves and to help them make good choices.

We ensure that our patients are engaged in their care, with the goal of reaching stability, moving out of homelessness and embracing a hopeful future for themselves and their families.

Helping families get back home again

The most important thing you can do for someone is to remind them that they have value. Traditional healthcare providers aren’t designed to address this.

You can’t heal patients if you disrespect them, don’t speak their language, don’t have an appreciation for their situation, including the precariousness, discomfort, and yes—even danger—of their temporary living conditions.

The Floating Hospital exists to meet the needs of homeless and low income families living on the margins of one of the most prosperous cities in the world.

Our care model enables people to improve their physical and mental health, while achieving concrete goals such as staying in school, obtaining a job, and securing permanent housing.

We care for people on a human level, person by person and family by family.

We help them get back home again.


Starting in 1866, The Floating Hospital is the largest provider of healthcare service to homeless families. We provide free and secure transport to and from over 300 shelters and domestic violence safe houses throughout New York City.

The Floating Hospital operates a main clinic in Long Island City. Also, we have satellite clinics at shelters, public housing, and assessment centers throughout the city.

Donate now to support our vital charitable work.

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The Floating Hospital provides high-quality healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or insurance status, or the ability to pay. By providing unrestricted medical care in tandem with health education and social support to vulnerable New York City families, The Floating Hospital aims to ensure those most in need have the ability to thrive, not just survive.


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