February 29, 2024

Recognizing Black and Women’s History Months

That most NYC homelessness is invisible to most New Yorkers clouds its solution. 

The gathering of Black and Women’s History Months presents an opportunity to make visible that women of color (and their children) are the face of NYC homelessness, and their homelessness is preventable. 

While a common focus of public discussion about homelessness is the approximately 4,000 New Yorkers experiencing street homelessness or new arrivals to our city, a broader lens illuminates that the loss of local homes is a main driver of people to shelters. Approximately two-thirds of the 90,000 people in the municipal shelter system are local New Yorkers who have been hurt by evictions, overcrowding and/or domestic violence. Women-headed families account for the majority and more than 95% identify as people of color.

A main artery of homelessness is the more than 1 million New Yorkers (including 350,000 children) in 440,000 households that are in rental arrears and on the brink of losing their homes. 

Additionally, a majority of women at risk of or experiencing homelessness are living with complex trauma — as a result of past child abuse and/or domestic violence — that thwarts their ability to practically function in the world and at work. Loss of home and community corrugates their trauma and sets them on a downward spiral, intensifying the challenge of reestablishing security and well-being.

This mass homelessness and traumatization of women of color and their children is not inevitable. The alternative of stepping in upstream to save their homes is more cost-effective and humanitarian. Thanks to you, The Partnership saved homes for 3,000 New Yorkers last year.

The average bill of NYC households in arrears is $3,300, in contrast to the average $100,000 household cost of shelter provision (if a family loses their home). And, when families go into shelter, their resultant disruptions to work, school and community support cause long-term poverty and repeated homelessness. 

The Partnership’s model is simple. We first focus on saving a family’s home. We provide navigation to ensure eligible households can access housing benefits and we provide rental arrears assistance. With the threat of an eviction eliminated, families feel safe in their homes and can engage with our supportive services, including culturally-appropriate mental health counseling. This program coupling and pacing allows clients to keep a roof over their heads while building and maintaining long-term and intergenerational stability and well-being.

If you can, join with us to recognize Black and Women’s History Months by donating to The Partnership’s Save Homes Campaign. Together, we can maintain stable housing for women of color, break the cycle of intergenerational homelessness and increase the footprint of homelessness prevention in New York City.

Ask friends to support The Partnership.