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Homelessness In New York City

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  • Each year 100,000 New Yorkers experience homelessness.
  • Each night, over 38,000 homeless individuals sleep in the New York City shelter system.  This includes more than 16,000 children and 8,000 single adults.  Thousands more sleep on city streets and in other public places.
  • Nearly 1-in-20 New York City residents have experienced homelessness.
  • There are over 1,000 soup kitchens & food pantries in NYC and 2,700 in NY State serving 2 million New Yorkers annually.  They will serve 60 million meals this year to hungry men, women & children.  Everyday they turn away over 2,500 people.
  • In the first six months of 2001, requests for help in soup kitchens and food pantries citywide rose by 71%.  After September 11th, there was another 71% increase.
  • Families make up 78% of New York City's homeless shelter population.
  • More than one-in-four children in NYC live in poverty. A typical homeless child is under 5 years old.
  • Over half of homeless mothers in New York City have a history of domestic violence.
  • Nearly one-in-five homeless parents were in foster care as a child.
  • It is estimated that between 40% and 50% of homeless single adults residing in the municipal shelter system have a chronic mental illness.
  • Approximately 90% of homeless New Yorkers are black or Latino, although only 53% percent of New York City's total population is black or Latino.
  • Almost 17% of residents of the single adult shelter system are employed.


Statistics from: 
Coalition for the Homeless, Updated May 2003

New York Times, 2002

Hunger Action Network of NYS, 1999

NY Coalition Against Hunger, 1998