On any given night in New York City, there are roughly 63,000 people in shelters, including approximately 23,000 homeless children. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of people currently sleeping in shelters is 82% higher than it was during the collapse of the housing market ten years ago. The Department of Housing and Urban Development found that more homeless people live in New York City than in any other city in the United States.
When we think of the homeless, we typically think of those commonly referred to as “street homeless”; that is, individuals sleeping on subway trains, alcoves of buildings, or anywhere else that might offer some semblance of shelter. But street homeless are only the most visible manifestation of this crisis. Recent estimates place the number of street homeless in New York City at just under 4,000; by contrast, in fiscal year 2017, nearly 130,000 men, women and children slept in the New York City shelter system. That means that for every homeless person finding some form of shelter on the street, there are thirty-three others without some form of stable housing.