A recent report from the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness has discovered a 63% spike in the number of homeless children living in New York City over the last five years, with the highest increase of 90% seen in Queens.
The report, titled “On the Map: The Atlas of Family Homelessness in New York City,” states that the majority of the growth was seen in Brooklyn and Queens, two areas populated by middle-class families.
Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Borough Park all reported a 183% increase in the homeless population.
By the 2012-2013 school year, 77,915 homeless students were living in shelters or staying with friends – a major increase from the 47,895 seen five years ago. About 20,000 of those live in shelters, while the rest are staying with extended family and friends.
The numbers suggest a 250% increase over the last 20 years.
According to the study, for every 1 children that lives in a shelter, 2 more are on the streets, either doubling up with another family, or sleeping in a park or subway car.
Almost 80,000 students in NYC experienced being homeless last year.
“The statistics are staggering,” the report reads. “Unless something is done to address the underlying issues driving families into extreme poverty, more children will become homeless. Community and government officials already know what the data show: that instability and homelessness have dire and long-lasting negative effects on children.”
The report, broken up by district, found that on average, 15% of the population was living below the poverty line and about 30% were spending more than half their income on rent. In 2012, the federal poverty line for a family of three (with 2 children) was $18,498.
There are 10 City Council districts providing shelter to over half of the city’s 12,000 homeless families, while 20 of the districts have no family shelters. The highest number of homeless family shelters are seen in the South Bronx-Upper Manhattan district, where 18 are in operation.
“Sheltering, New York’s most vulnerable families is a collective responsibility to be shouldered by all. In order to meet our moral and legal obligation to shelter those in need in the five boroughs, we are looking at sites all across the city,” said Jaslee Carayol, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Homeless services.
The study suggests that families in New York City become homeless for a multitude of reasons, including the high cost of housing and a lack of employment opportunities and education.
According to a separate report released last month by the Department of Education, 1,258,182 homeless children were living without adequate shelter across the nation in the 2012-2013 school year. The DOE reported this as an 8% increase from the previous year.
Across the nation, 75% of homeless children live with friends or extended family, 16% in hotels, and 3% live without any shelter. Schools report 75,940 children living without supervision.