State of the Homeless

State of the Homeless

New York City Takes Steps to Combat Record Homelessness, but Albany Must Step Up

Children of Color Hit Hardest: 1 in 17 African-American Children in NYC Spent Time in Shelter in FY2014

NEW YORK – The Coalition for the Homeless released today its annual State of the Homeless report, showing that while New York City has taken encouraging initial steps to begin to reduce the record number of New Yorkers currently in shelter, both the Governor and the Mayor must do more to combat this crisis. The report outlined key policy recommendations for both city and state leaders to dramatically reduce homelessness from today’s record heights.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Record homelessness:  the number of homeless people sleeping each night in municipal shelters now exceeds 60,000 people, including 25,000 children, for the first time ever.  
  • But NYC may be starting to turning the tide: As a result of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to move 5,000 families per year from shelter into stable, affordable housing, there is early evidence that New York City has stabilized the explosive growth in homelessness for the first time in years.
  • Disproportionate impact on children of color: 1 in 17 African-American children and 1 in 34 Latino children used the shelter system in Fiscal Year 2014 (compared to 1 in 43 New York City children total).

“Homelessness continued to worsen for most of 2014, but Mayor de Blasio’s plan to move families from shelter into stable, affordable housing is starting to have an effect,” said Mary Brosnahan, President and CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless.  “To make sustained progress, however, Albany and Governor Cuomo must step up and act as the City’s partner in ending this crisis. With one in seventeen African-American children spending at least one night in our shelter system last year, we cannot afford to wait any longer to make the investments that are proven to reduce homelessness.”

Concrete Measures to Reduce Homelessness

The Coalition’s report finds that the follow recommendations, if adhered to by Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, would lead to a dramatic and unprecedented reductions in family and child homelessness:

  1. The Governor must enhance rental assistance programs that prevent homelessness and help homeless New Yorkers move from shelters to their own homes.
  2. Mayor de Blasio must allocate a larger number of public housing apartments – at least 2,500 per year – to homeless families.
  3. The Mayor must also ensure that at least 10 percent of the housing units created or preserved under his ambitious ten-year, 200,000-unit housing plan are targeted to homeless families and individuals.
  4. Governor Cuomo must fully fund the State’s share of a new City-State “New York/New York Agreement” to create 30,000 units of supportive housing for homeless New Yorkers living with special needs.