Who are the Homeless/What challenges do they face.



The legal definition of a homeless individual in the US under

Title 42> Chapter 119> Subchapter I> Code § 11302

(1) Is of  an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence;

(2) an individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground;

(3) an individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including hotels and motels paid for by Federal, State, or local government programs for low-income individuals or by charitable organizations, congregate shelters, and transitional housing);

(4) an individual who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and who is exiting an institution where he or she temporarily resided



There are many problems that come with being homeless in NYC. Factors range from economic, social, environmental, and personal issues. Being homeless puts one at a disadvantage in just about every aspect of ones life.


  • NYC winters are frequently cold and snowy, a fact that many homeless people are intimately familiar with.
  • Summers can be equally bad as there are no adequate resources for homeless people to advantage of to escape the heat
  • The city itself does not provide natural resources for people to sustain themselves on


  • It is difficult to get a job while homeless, which in turn is what is required to not be homeless.
  • There is no way for the homeless to save money while living on the street
  • If one does have money it is difficult to find a place to live, as they typically require people to have steady income in order to rent.


  • There is a stigma attached to being homeless as homeless are typically seen as lazy or irresponsible even though the circumstances leading to them being homeless are out of their hands.
  • The homeless are occasionally denied service based on their appearance.

Another factor that homeless people face constantly and is not always apparent, is the homeless shelters themselves. Places that are designed to help are often seen as unsafe or actively harmful to the people that need the help the most. There are several reasons for this; some internal coming from inside the shelters and the residence and some external from lack of funding or poor oversight or abusive staff.

The violence takes places in the shelters is often the reason for people staying out on the streets. A shelter is not always the best place for a homeless person. This is going back to the under representation of the homeless in NYC, part of the issue lies in the fact that the shelters are not equipped with the facilities or the staff needed to manage large numbers of people.