There are more than 80,000 homeless kids in New York City
November 2, 2014

Like his predecessor, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to lower the staggering rate of homelessness in New York City. Unlike his predecessor, his strategy has not consisted of  hectoring the homeless for their plight while  cutting their access to housing programs. 

Still, the number of homeless families in New York continues to rise, especially in traditionally middle-class neighborhoods that have seen rapid growth (e.g. gentrification), as the Daily News notes. According to a report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, 12,000 families are currently sleeping in shelters, including 24,000 kids. That’s a 250% jump in 20 years. 

In reality, the city’s homelessness problem is far more dire because many homeless families don’t get into shelters. According to school records highlighted in the report, close to 80,000 kids have experienced homelessness in the past year. 

“For every child in shelter, there were roughly two additional children who were homeless and living in unstable conditions," the authors note. That could mean doubling up with another family or sleeping on the subway or in a car. 

"Unless something is done to address the underlying issues driving families into extreme poverty, more children will become homeless," the report concludes. 

While New York leads the pack in horrifyingly high rates of homelessness, cities across the country continue to see increases in the number of homeless families. 

A 2013 estimate by the Department of Education highlighted by the Huffington Post found an 8 percent increase in homeless  students in just one year. 


Note: These statistics vastly underestimate the actual number of homeless kids in NYC. These are just kids who were counted — which means they are known to be homeless by their schools.

It does not account for youth who:

  • Couch surf
  • Sleep on the train
  • Break night at a 24/hour place.
  • Do sex work for a place to sleep.
  • Are older teens & children too young for school.

If you or anyone you know is a homeless youth in NYC, contact Streetwork Project. It is a harm reduction-based drop-in center in Harlem & another in the Lower East Side, as well as an emergency housing shelter. They provides meals, clothing, showers, laundry, medical services, legal aid, needle exchange, housing/SSI/Medicaid advocacy & case management, acupuncture, psychiatric services, support groups & a safer space for youth under 24.

For more info on how you can support NYC’s homeless youth population, especially with the brutal winter around the corner, click here.

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