This report explores unemployment and public assistance programs in New York City. With a 10.6 percent unemployment rate and rising welfare rolls, the authors predict that the numbers of families and children living in homeless shelters will increase to 10,600 and 16,900 — increases of 13 and 15 percent, respectively — by the end of Fiscal Year 2010.
Even before the recession hit in December 2007, New York City had a large homeless family population, with a monthly average of more than 9,000 families sleeping in shelters each night. During 2009 alone, however, the number of families entering the shelter system increased by 33 percent compared to the previous year. The increase in family homelessness comes at a time when the New York City Housing Authority, facing serious federal assistance shortfalls, has announced that it will not fund additional Section 8 vouchers for 2010 and that it will terminate about 2,500 vouchers already issued to families but not yet used.
The report also explores the national scope of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programs. It was produced by the Institute for Children and Poverty (ICP), an independent nonprofit that generates research to enhance public policies and programs affecting poor or homeless children and their families.