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The FHC Fact Sheet

60% of New Yorkers in shelter are families with children. Out of more than 60,000 people in the City’s shelter system, about 38,000 are individuals in families with children. The child population alone is more than 20,000. At least 5,500 additional families and approximately 5,800 children and youth use shelters operated by HRA and HPD. Homelessness is traumatic for everyone but especially for children because of the long-term negative impacts it has on their physical and mental health, education, and the likelihood they will experience homelessness as an adult. Several indicators point to the extent of this crisis and its potential long-term effect on children:

  • More than 104,000 children in New York City Public schools are temporarily housed, meaning they are living in a shelter, hotel/motel, in a car or public place, or doubled up—that is, living with friends or relatives because they cannot find or afford housing)
  • Students in temporary housing are more likely to be chronically absent from school than students in permanent housing. For instance, in Grades K-5, 34 percent of students in temporary housing are chronically absent compared to 20% of permanently housed students who are absent.
  • Half of all homeless families with children are placed in cluster sites or commercial hotels without sufficient access to proper social services, kitchens, laundry services, or recreational space.
  • The average length of shelter stays for families with children has risen to 534 days.
  • More than 16 percent of head of households in DHS shelter were first in shelter as children.