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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


  • 13%* of our nation’s homeless population lives right here, outstripping every other city in the nation.2
  • Nearly 80,000 people* are experiencing homelessness in NYC. That's about one in every 106 people.3
  • An estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers are food insecure. That's about one in every six.4
  • An estimated nearly 2,400 people are living unsheltered in the subways, on the streets of Manhattan, or in one of the other boroughs.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


*NOTE: Data taken from most recent NYC CoC Homeless Populations and Subpopulations Report, as published by HUD. This point-in-time count is conducted each January.

1 Robin Hood Foundation
2 HUD Exchange
3 U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts, HUD Exchange
4 City Harvest
5 NYC Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), conducted on January 26, 2021

PAGE LAST UPDATED: December 2021

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