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Keeping Track of Family Homelessness in New York City

Today CCC released the new report released Keeping Track of Family Homelessness in New York City. The report takes a comprehensive look at CCC’s community-level data to better understand the needs of the 22,000 children living in Department of Homeless Services (DHS) homeless shelters and inform the work underway in New York City to address those needs.

The report demonstrates the extent to which the city’s uneven recovery from the Great Recession has played a role between 2013 and 2015 in the growth of family homelessness. The majority of families with children entering homeless shelters in 2015 came from 15 New York City communities, all concentrated in the Bronx, Central Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. Many of these districts experienced increases in median rents despite consistently low – and in some cases decreasing – median household incomes.

These trends are seen in dozens of districts across the city, including some neighborhoods that are often overlooked in public discussions around poverty and homelessness.

In middle income communities such as Astoria in Queens, the data reveal that rents continue to rise faster than incomes making housing stability a growing concern for families with children. In some of the city’s more affluent areas such as Chelsea and the Upper West Side of Manhattan, pockets of poverty exist in which low-income children and their families struggle with housing instability. And while the City is set to expand Homebase services and has just enacted a law to provide legal counsel to tenants in need, neither Astoria, Chelsea nor the Upper West Side are districts that benefit from the presence of preventive services.

The report also examines CCC’s Community Risk Ranking data to provide deeper understanding of the extent to which children and families that reside in communities with the highest rates of families entering homeless shelter may be exposed to numerous risk factors that impact their short and long-term health and well-being. To support children whose lives have been disrupted by housing instability, these data demonstrate the need for a variety of health, mental health and educational services to be made available before, during and after a family’s stay in shelter.

CCC’s Keeping Track of Family Homelessness report underscores the importance of a multi-pronged approach to address family homelessness in New York City. This comprehensive approach was outlined in the recent recommendations published by CCC together with New Destiny Housing and Enterprise Community Partners based on the work of the Family Homelessness Task Force. You can read the task force recommendations here.

Keeping Track of Family Homelessness examines a wide range of government administrative data available on Keeping Track Online (KTO). KTO contains hundreds of indicators on child well-being. Users can explore the data housed on KTO to get a comprehensive understanding of children’s needs in each of the five boroughs’ 59 community districts and compare communities to place those needs in context. Indicators are available for key areas of child well-being, including economic conditions, housing and community life, health and mental health, early care and education, education, youth services, child welfare, and environment.

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