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Facts About Homelessness


In New York City, homelessness and hunger are an ongoing crisis.


Even before the onset of COVID-19, over a million New Yorkers lived one personal crisis away from homelessness. Faced with an extraordinarily high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and shortage of living wage jobs, New Yorkers living below the poverty line included nearly one in five adult residents (or 1.2 million people).1

Now, the pandemic and resulting economic downturn have exacerbated income inequality in our city. Low-income New Yorkers have been hit hardest by COVID-19-related job losses and pay cuts — forcing many to make the difficult choice between paying for rent or paying for groceries.

Guests at The Bowery Mission


  • More than 63,000 sleep in public shelters each night.2
  • An estimated 3,400 people are living unsheltered in the subways, on the streets of Manhattan, or in one of the other boroughs.3
  • The number of single adults sleeping in public shelters is 86% higher than it was 10 years ago.4
  • An estimated 1.4 million New Yorkers are food insecure. That's about one in every six.5



Every New Yorker experiencing homelessness has their own story.


Almost everyone who is homeless has experienced some form of hardship, loss, or trauma — whether it’s recent or compounded over a lifetime. Most people feel disconnected from at least one, if not more, critical aspects of a fulfilling, dignified life.


During his struggle with addiction, David lost his home, job and wife. With nowhere else to go, he found himself sleeping on the street.

“At a time that I had little hope and little faith The Bowery Mission loved me back to health. And that foundation has helped me to feel good about myself no matter the circumstances.”
— David, graduate of The Bowery Mission


Sheltering-in-place during the pandemic forced Tracey to be in lockdown with someone who was increasingly abusive.

“I’m grateful to the Mission for allowing me to be there. I was able to grow. I was able to get the support that I needed — and the understanding. I’m finding that I’m calmer now and I’m a better person.”
— Tracey, graduate of The Bowery Mission


1 Robin Hood Foundation
2 City Limits, data as of June 2022
3 NYC Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), conducted on January 25, 2022
4 Coalition for the Homeless, data as of August 2022
5 Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, “2021 Food Metrics Report”; New York City Department of City Planning, “New York City Populations Estimate Report 2021

PAGE LAST UPDATED: November 2022

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