State of the Homeless

State of the Homeless

Turning Point: Amidst Unprecedented Homelessness —
A New Focus on Housing Can Turn the Tide

The Coalition for the Homeless released its 2014 State of the Homeless report March 12, 2014 documenting new record levels of homelessness reached in Mayor Bloomberg’s final year in office, with more than 53,000 New Yorkers and 22,000 children sleeping in shelters each night by the end of 2013.  The report also outlines concrete, cost-effective steps the new Administration can take to begin moving families out of the shelter system and prevent New Yorkers from becoming homeless in the first place.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Record homelessness:  Over the past year, the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system increased by 7% from 50,135 people in January 2013 to 53,615 people in January 2014, the highest level ever recorded.
  • Child homelessness continues to surge: The number of homeless children increased by 8% over the past year, reaching an all-time-high 22,712 children sleeping in homeless shelters in January 2014.
  • Length of stay rises, again:  Average shelter stays for homeless families with children rose by a remarkable two months (60 days), or 16 percent, during the past year.  The average shelter stay for homeless families with children is now 14.5 months, the longest ever recorded.
  • Not just families: The number of homeless single adults sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system rose 5% to 11,342 women and men, another new all-time record.
  • Record numbers all year long:  During FY 2013 more than 111,000 different New Yorkers – including more than 40,000 different children – turned to the homeless shelter system, 5% more than the previous year

State of the Homeless 2014 details the five most effective steps Mayor de Blasio can take to reduce NYC’s record homeless population and protect the lives of vulnerable homeless children and adults,” said report author Patrick Markee, the Coalition’s Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy.

“Amidst so much suffering, there is hopeful news,” said CFH President Mary Brosnahan. “Mayor de Blasio can reduce the number of homeless families by 66 percent over the next four years with investments in long-term housing subsidies.  Those investments would also save taxpayer dollars currently squandered on stop-gap, emergency shelters.”

Concrete Measures to Reduce Homelessness:

  1. Target long-term housing subsidies to help homeless families and children move from costly emergency shelter to stable, permanent housing – which will save taxpayer dollars squandered on stop-gap measures.
  2. Convert “cluster-site” shelter units back to permanent housing, significantly reducing family homelessness and phasing out this wasteful program.
  3. Invest in the creation of new permanent supportive housing for homeless people living with mental illness and other disabilities – another cost-effective measure that saves $10,000 per person annually.
  4. Improve access to emergency shelter to prevent harm to vulnerable homeless children, youth, and adults.
  5. Enhance homelessness prevention efforts through cost-saving homelessness prevention programs and better coordination of services.