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.


Compassion, Not Confinement

How States and Localities Can Help Ensure Humane Housing for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Awaiting Family Reunification

In the first five months of 2021, about 65,000 children were apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after arriving in the United States unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. These children come to the United States seeking protection, stability, and a chance to reunite with their families, but are instead processed at federa ...

  • Shaina Aber, Lauren Esterle, Derek Loh
June 16, 2021