Understanding Family Homelessness in New York City An In-Depth Study of Families' Experiences Before and After Shelter


Families are accessing homeless shelters in record numbers in cities across the United States, and New York City is no exception. After a 10-year period of relative stability, the number of homeless families in New York City grew by 22 percent in 2001 and by another 35 percent in 2002. By 2003, there were more than 9,000 families living in the city's homeless shelters on any given night. In response to this record demand for family shelter, in spring 2003 the Vera Institute of Justice collaborated with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the New York City Housing Authority to conduct a series of research projects on homeless families including mapping sources of homelessness, conducting a unique survey of homeless families residing in shelters, and analyzing patterns of recidivism among families who leave shelters. This report describes the key findings from this research and is intended to help city officials and service providers shift responses to homelessness towards more cost-effective and preventive approaches, which are less disruptive for families.


Representation Matters

No Child Should Appear in Immigration Proceedings Alone

Each year, thousands of immigrant children are placed into court proceedings in which government prosecutors seek to deport them unless those children can prove they have a right to stay in the United States. Many face these immigration proceedings alone. Many children have legal options that establish their ability to remain in the United States, ...

  • Alyssa Snider, Becca DiBennardo
December 23, 2021
Photo by Alex Burness/The Colorado Independent.

Bans on Holiday Cards and $30 Phone Calls—the Isolation of Prison

The way the United States separates people who are incarcerated from loved ones has always been harsh, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made an already stressful situation worse. Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, many of the nearly two million people incarcerated haven’t seen their loved ones—not even on a video call. And speaking w ...

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  • Nazish Dholakia
    Nazish Dholakia
December 21, 2021
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