New York City Homelessness: The Basic Facts
- In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- In June 2017, there were 60,717 homeless people, including 15,145 homeless families with 22,695 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families comprise just over three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.
- Over the course of City fiscal year 2016, more than 127,652 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes over 45,000 different homeless New York City children.
- In 2015, families entering shelter came from a few clustered zip codes in the poorest neighborhoods in New York City.
- The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 76 percent higher than it was ten years ago.
- Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction; doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing; domestic violence; job loss; and hazardous housing conditions.
- Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.
- Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces. There is no accurate measurement of New York City’s unsheltered homeless population, and recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.
- Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems.
- African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino, 7 percent are white, less than 1 percent are Asian-American, and 3 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity.