Monday, March 9, 2009

Homeless 101

Homelessness is a vastly complicated phenomenon, the intersection of almost every single one of our social problems. But before we get into that, let's cover the basics about NYC.

Here are the homeless statistics as of 2008 from the Coalition for the Homeless website:

"In November 2008 more than 36,600 homeless men, women, and children were sleeping each night in New York City municipal shelters, including 15,800 children, 14,100 adult family members, and 6,700 single adults. Thousands more sleep rough on city streets, in public parks, in the subway system, and in other public spaces."

Note that almost HALF of the homeless population are children.

More basics facts from the Coalition:
  • During the current decade homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

  • Over the past decade the New York City homeless shelter population has increased by nearly two-thirds.

  • Over the past decade, the number of homeless families sleeping in New York City shelters and welfare hotels has nearly doubled. The average stay for homeless families in the municipal shelter system is currently ten months.

  • Permanent housing for homeless families and individuals costs less than shelter and other emergency care. The cost of sheltering a homeless family in the New York City Shelter system is $36,000 per year, awhile the cost of shelter for a homeless individual is $23,000 per year.
Visit the Coalition's website for more basic info.

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