Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City

The Coalition for the Homeless provides up-to-date information on New York City’s homeless population. In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. You can find more information about homelessness at the following page: Facts About Homelessness (main page)

This page provides an overview of homelessness in New York City. Here you can find the key statistics about New York City’s homeless shelter population and a brief description of some of the main factors causing modern homelessness. You can also download a fact sheet about homelessness in New York City.

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 March 2016, there were 60,144 homeless people, including 14,654 homeless families with 23,424 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 the last City fiscal year (FY 2015), more than 109,000 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes over 42,000 different homeless New York City children.
  • The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 91 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.

New York City Homelessness: Downloads

The following documents are available for download:

Fact Sheet

Homelessness Charts

Spreadsheet