Research Reports and Policy Briefs

The Coalition’s policy briefs provide up-to-date analysis of homeless and housing policy.  Coalition briefing papers have analyzed City policies threatening the right to shelter, the flaws in time-limited rent subsidy programs, and the impact of war on homelessness. The Coalition’s research reports provide in-depth analysis and research on issues affecting homelessness in New York.  Coalition reports include studies of New York City’s widening affordable housing gap, the City’s use of illegal boarding houses to shelter homeless people, and the impact of the 1990s welfare reform on homelessness in New York.

Housing Affordability: The Dire Housing Crisis for Extremely Low-Income New Yorkers

June 1, 2022 – The Coalition’s report analyzes data from the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, which contains evidence of the City’s dismal failure to address the catastrophic affordable housing crisis that continues to fuel mass homelessness and drive a growing number of extremely low-income households into a state of perpetual housing instability.

View from the Street: Unsheltered New Yorkers and the Need for Safety, Dignity, and Agency

April 5, 2021 — The Coalition’s report summarizes the findings of more than 200 interviews with unsheltered New Yorkers staying on the streets of the city. The research highlights the need for solutions that provide safety, dignity, and agency for unsheltered individuals and offers recommendations for the City and State to respond more effectively to their needs.

COVID-19 and Homelessness in New York City: Pandemic Pandemonium for New Yorkers Without Homes

June 9, 2020 — The Coalition’s report outlines the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on homeless New Yorkers, provides a look at government responses in the early months of the crisis, and recommends urgent actions to support homeless New Yorkers.

State of the Homeless

2000-Present — The Coalition’s annual report provides an overview of homelessness in New York City. Recent reports have analyzed the dramatic increases in New York City’s homeless shelter population and outlined proven solutions.

The Tale of Two Housing Markets: How de Blasio’s Plan Fuels Record Homelessness

August 20, 2019 — An analysis by the Coalition for the Homeless detailing the housing market conditions contributing to mass homelessness and the stark disconnect between Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 “affordable” housing plan and the reality of record homelessness.

Housing DisConnect: Fact-Checking Mayor de Blasio’s Claims on Affordable Housing and Homelessness

December 11, 2018 — An analysis by the Coalition for the Homeless addressing claims Mayor de Blasio has made regarding the House Our Future NY Campaign and elaborating on the current state of homelessness, the need for more housing, and the mechanisms for achieving our goals.

Moment of Truth: Bringing Production of Affordable Housing for Homeless Households in de Blasio’s Housing Plan to Scale

January 31, 2018 — An analysis by the Coalition for the Homeless examining the creation and preservation of housing units in Mayor de Blasio’s Housing NY plan. The report concludes the City is on track to create too few units for homeless households and calls for 30,000 units of affordable housing for homeless individuals and families, or 10 percent of the total plan, a rate achieved by previous Mayors.

Recovering from the Lost Decade: Permanent Rent Supplements a Potent Tool for Reducing Homelessness

October 25, 2017 — Briefing paper by Coalition for the Homeless examining the history of rent supplements provided to homeless individuals and families. It highlights both effective and ineffective models of providing rent supplements and offers recommendations to improve upon and bring to scale the solutions proven to offer housing stability for homeless families and individuals.

Family Homelessness in NYC: City and State Must Meet Unprecedented Scale of Crisis with Proven Solutions

January 12, 2017 — Briefing paper by Coalition for the Homeless examining the factors that contribute to the present family homelessness crisis and recommended solutions that can reduce the number of people utilizing New York City homeless shelters.

A Growing Crisis for Single Adults: Supportive Housing Placements Decline as Homelessness Among Single Adults Remains High

August 26, 2016 — Briefing paper by the Coalition for the Homeless citing the lack of supportive housing in New York City as one of the primary drivers of the marked increase in homelessness among single adults.

A State Blueprint for Ending Homelessness

January 12, 2016 — Briefing paper by the Coalition for the Homeless on what Governor Cuomo must do to help end New York’s homelessness crisis.

Failure of Governor and Mayor to Complete a Robust “New York/New York IV Agreement” to Create Permanent Supportive Housing Will Lead to More NYC Homelessness and Higher Costs for Taxpayers

June 12, 2015 — A new analysis by the Coalition for the Homeless finds that the potential failure of Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to negotiate and sign a “New York/New York IV Agreement” to create 35,000 units of supportive housing statewide – with 30,000 units in New York City – will lead to further increases in NYC’s record homeless population, more homeless shelters, and will cost New York taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in avoidable expenses.

Analysis and Comment on the NYS Budget for Homeless Services Expansion 2015-16 through 2019-20

May 14, 2015 — Coalition for the Homeless Analysis and Comment on the NYS Budget for Homeless Services Expansion 2015-16 through 2019-20.

The Revolving Door Keeps Spinning: New Data Shows that Half of “Advantage” Families Have Returned to the NYC Homeless Shelter System 

December 28, 2013 — Coalition for the Homeless released a new report with fresh evidence that the Bloomberg administration’s flawed Advantage program was a revolving door back to homelessness for thousands of families and children – and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Homeless Again: The Costs of Excluding Homeless Families from Housing Assistance

March 18, 2013 — New data show the number of families re-entering the shelter system has reached a new high and is contributing to current record homelessness. By the end of 2012, over 6,500 former-Advantage families had re-entered shelter, costing the City millions in avoidable shelter expenses.

Voiceless Victims: The Impact of Record Homelessness on Children

September 25,2012 — The Bloomberg administration’s homeless policy failures have pushed the shelter population to unprecedented levels – with over 19,000 children in city shelters. This report discusses the challenges these children face and details a plan by the City Council that would reverse this trend and save taxpayer money.

Homeless Again: Former Advantage Tenants Adding to Already Record Homelessness in New York City

June 15, 2012 — With New York City homelessness already at record levels, the number of homeless children and adults crowding municipal shelters is poised to rise even higher in coming months as families cut off from the Advantage program return to shelter.

Record Homelessness: Impact on Children

November 21, 2011 — The number of children in New York City shelters has reached an all-time high. As a result, an increasing number of homeless students are facing great challenges in obtaining a good education.

Forty-one Thousand: As Mayor Bloomberg’s Failed Policies Exacerbate Crisis, NYC Homeless Shelter Population Tops 41,000 People Per Night for First Time Ever

November 9, 2011 — New City data shows that the New York City municipal shelter population now exceeds 41,000 homeless people per night for the first time since modern homelessness began three decades ago.

More NYC Families Turned Away from Shelter Than Ever

May 2, 2011 — Amidst high unemployment and the loss of affordable housing, a record number of New Yorkers sought help at municipal homeless shelters last year. However, the Bloomberg administration’s response was to turn away a record number of families and children at the shelter door.

A Better, More Cost-Effective Alternative to the Failed “Advantage” Program

March 14, 2011 — An alternative to the failed Advantage program will save City and State taxpayer dollars and provide better, more stable housing options for homeless children and adults exiting shelter.

The Revolving Door Spins Faster: New Evidence Shows that the Flawed “Advantage” Program Forces Many Formerly-Homeless Families Back Into Homelessness

February 16, 2011 — Three years after its inception, alarming new evidence shows how the Bloomberg administration’s flawed Advantage program is forcing rising numbers of formerly-homeless New York City children and families back into homelessness.  Governor Cuomo’s proposal to eliminate State funding for the program offers City and State officials the opportunity to reform New York’s failed approach to family homelessness.

Revolving Door: How the Bloomberg Administration is Putting Families at Risk of Returning to Shelter

July 20, 2010 — Amidst record family homelessness and high unemployment, the Bloomberg administration is putting thousands of formerly-homeless families at risk of returning to homelessness by cutting them off from rental assistance under the three-year-old Advantage program. Additionally, this summer the administration will enact changes to the Advantage program that will only accelerate the program’s “revolving door” back to homelessness.

From Bad to Worse: Mayor Bloomberg’s Proposed FY 2011 Cutbacks to Homeless Services

May 10, 2010 — At a time of all-time record homelessness and double-digit unemployment in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed sharp City budget cutbacks to vital services that help homeless and at-risk New Yorkers.

Undercounting the Homeless 2010

January 24, 2010 — This year, the New York City Department of Homeless Services is conducting its eighth annual HOPE street homelessness survey. And once again, there is mounting evidence that the City’s survey and its resulting “estimate” fail to measure homelessness accurately and mislead the general public about the scale of the problem.

NYC Homeless Shelter Population Reaches All-Time High: Over 39,000 Homeless People and 10,000 Homeless Families in Shelters Each Night

October 13, 2009 — New data show that, for the first time ever, more than 39,000 homeless New Yorkers – including more than 10,000 homeless families, an all-time high — sleep in municipal shelters each night. City data also show that, since Mayor Bloomberg took office, 45 percent more New Yorkers sleep in municipal homeless shelters each year. All in all, the new City data confirm that the current year is the worst on record for New York City homelessness since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Capacity Crunch: NYC Shelter System Running Out of Beds as Winter Approaches

October 4, 2009 — The number of homeless single adults in shelters has risen dramatically this year. As winter approaches, the NYC shelter system is running out of beds for homeless men and women.

New York’s Homeless Shelter Ejection and Denial Rules: Summary of Needed Changes to Protect Homeless New Yorkers

August 25, 2009 — This summer, at the urging of the Bloomberg administration, New York State officials approved punitive new rules that will result in many homeless children and adults in New York City being ejected from shelter to the streets for 30 days or more, and that require many homeless families to make payments for the cost of shelter.

Protecting Homeless New Yorkers from Paying “Rent” for Shelter and from Ejection from Shelter to the Street

August 10, 2009 — This summer New York State officials approved the City of New York’s plan to implement punitive new rules that will result in many homeless children and adults being ejected from shelter to the streets for 30 days or more, and that require many homeless families to make payments for the cost of shelter. Under the new rules recently implemented by the City of New York with the approval of State officials, many homeless children and adults will be ejected from shelter to the streets for 30 days or more for missing appointments, for failing to pay shelter “rent,” or if a homeless family’s welfare case is suspended or closed – something that happens routinely due to bureaucratic error.

Fewer Resources for Street Homeless Individuals

July 22, 2009 — At a time when homelessness is on the rise, the Bloomberg administration has cut resources and reduced access to emergency shelter services for street homeless individuals.

Losing Shelter: New York’s Harmful Policy of Ejecting Homeless Adults Living with Mental Illness and Disabilities from Shelter to the Streets

June 24, 2009 — Pursuant to a 1995 State regulation issued by the Pataki administration, the City of New York has for more than three years attempted to eject dozens of homeless adults from shelter to the streets. In addition, the City has issued pre-ejection sanction notices to hundreds more homeless adults, targeting them for loss of shelter. This policy brief provides descriptions of several cases of homeless adults living with mental or physical illnesses whom the City of New York has sought to eject from shelter to the streets.

Five Years Later: The Failure of Mayor Bloomberg’s Five-Year Homeless Plan

June 23, 2009 — June 23rd marks the five-year anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s five-year plan to reduce homelessness by two-thirds, and it is now clear that the plan has failed. The number of homeless families now is higher than when Mayor Bloomberg unveiled his plan, and there are more than 5,000 more homeless New Yorkers in municipal shelters compared to when the Mayor took office.

Research Proves that Federal Housing Programs Work to Reduce Family Homelessness

A growing body of academic research has shown that Federal housing programs and similar, long-term housing assistance are remarkably effective in reducing family homelessness – both in helping homeless families move from shelters to permanent housing, and in ensuring that these families remain stably housed. This policy brief summarizes research over the past decade and discusses its implications for policy in New York City.

Number of Homeless NYC Families at Highest Point Since Modern Homelessness Began

December 23, 2008 — The Bloomberg administration has outlined a plan to reduce emergency shelter and other services for street homeless individuals, making it more difficult to get help at a time when the number of homeless New Yorkers is on the rise.

Governor Paterson’s Proposed State Budget Cuts Threaten to Harm Homeless New Yorkers

December 23, 2008 — The Governor proposes more than $11 million in cutbacks to homelessness prevention, housing, and other vital services.

The Bloomberg Administration Moves Forward to Reduce Emergency Shelter for Street Homeless New Yorkers

December 15, 2008 — The Bloomberg administration has outlined a plan to reduce emergency shelter and other services for street homeless individuals, making it more difficult to get help at a time when the number of homeless New Yorkers is on the rise.

New Homeless NYC Families At Record High

October 29, 2008 — Coalition for the Homeless released a briefing paper showing that 1,464 newly homeless families entered the New York City shelter system in September, an all-time record high.

The Bloomberg Administration’s Misguided Plan to Move the Homeless Men’s Intake Center Out of Manhattan

June 24, 2008 — Coalition for the Homeless has released a detailed analysis of the Bloomberg administration’s misguided plan to move New York City’s only homeless men’s intake center from midtown Manhattan, where most street homelessness is concentrated, to the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Off Target: A Progress Report on Mayor Bloomberg’s Five-Year Homeless Plan

June 23, 2008 — On the fourth anniversary, this brief assessment of Mayor Bloomberg’s five-year homeless plan finds the City far behind its targets for reducing New York City homelessness.

Warehousing the Homeless: The Rising Use of Illegal Boarding Houses to Shelter Homeless New Yorkers

January 2008 — This report analyzes the City of New York’s accelerating use of unsafe, illegal boarding houses to shelter homeless adults, and outlines safeguards that City officials should adopt to protect homeless New Yorkers and New York City neighborhoods from harm.  Read a summary of the report here.

No Advantage: The Bloomberg Administration’s Flawed Approach to Family Homelessness

July 20, 2007 — Mayor Bloomberg’s response to the family homelessness crisis was to replace one flawed rent subsidy program, “Housing Stability Plus,” with another, equally-flawed program called “Work Advantage.” This briefing paper details the problems with the new program and the Bloomberg administration’s flawed approach to family homelessness.

Reforming New York City’s Rent Subsidy Program for Homeless Families

February 7, 2007 — This briefing paper summarizes research that should inform efforts by the Bloomberg administration to reform its flawed homeless rent subsidy programs.

Homeless Families at Risk:  Hazardous Conditions in the Housing Stability Plus Program

February 2007 — This report describes the City of New York’s deeply flawed Housing Stability Plus rent subsidy program for homeless families.  Through this flawed and ultimately abandoned program, the City placed thousands of vulnerable children and families into dangerous, unsafe apartments with serious health and safety hazards.

The “New York/New York III Agreement”: A Significant First Step

January 31, 2006 — The renewed agreement is a significant first step in expanding supportive housing resources for homeless New Yorkers, but still fails fully to address the need.

The Bloomberg Administration’s Discriminatory Policy of Denying Shelter to Homeless Domestic Partners

March 23, 2005 — The Bloomberg administration’s policies deny shelter to homeless couples who have registered as domestic partners.

Closing the Shelter Door: Mayor Bloomberg’s Plan to Deny Shelter to Homeless Families

December 20, 2004 — Threatening a fundamental protection for vulnerable children and families, Mayor Bloomberg plans to deny shelter to many homeless families.

Mayor Bloomberg’s Flawed “Housing Stability Plus” Program: A Reform Plan

November 2004 — The Bloomberg administration’s flawed “Housing Stability Plus” program requires significant reforms.

The Bush Administration’s Attack on Housing Assistance

July 2004 — President Bush has proposed the most dramatic cutbacks in Federal housing programs in more than two decades.

Undercounting the Homeless

May 2004 — A comprehensive critical analysis of the City’s annual “estimate” of the number of street homeless New Yorkers.

War and Homelessness

March 2003 — Wars throughout American history have caused homelessness among armed forces veterans, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will create a new generation of homeless veterans.

Housing a Growing City:  New York’s Bust in Boom Times

July 2002 (second edition) — This comprehensive report analyzes New York City’s widening affordable housing gap and its impact on worsening homelessness.

Supportive Housing: A Cost-Effective Way to Reduce the Homeless Population

April 2002 — An analysis of how supportive housing reduces homelessness and saves taxpayer dollars.

Legacy of Neglect:  The Impact of Welfare Reform on New York’s Homeless

August 1999 — This report and statewide survey analyzes the impact of Federal, State, and local welfare reform policies on homeless New Yorkers, and finds that punitive welfare policies have cut pff many homeless families and individuals from vital public benefits.

New Yorkers Critical of Giuliani Homeless Policy:  A Public Opinion Survey

February 1999 — This brief report summarizes the findings of a public opinion survey commissioned by the Coalition which found that New Yorkers support effective solutions to the problem of homelessness and were critical of former Mayor Giuliani’s homeless policies.