February 23, 2023

Save Homes for women and children of color

As Black and Women’s History Months come together, we are reminded that women and children of color are the face of NYC homelessness. Of the record 70,000 New Yorkers currently living in homeless shelters, 70% are in families headed by women, 95% identify as people of color and one-third (23,000) are children. This racial and gender inequity at the root of homelessness drives The Partnership’s focus on prevention. Thanks to your support of our Save Homes Campaign, thousands of women and children across the five boroughs are safe in their own homes today and are not faced with the crushing experience of homelessness.

Like Celina. 

Celina Duran* was faced with losing the Bronx home where she lived with her three children (2-year-old Lucas, 8-year-old Amber and 13-year-old Mariela)* when she came to The Partnership last year with an arrears bill of more than $2,000. Months earlier, when she lost her job due to illness, her savings did not stretch to cover her housing and food bills so she fell behind on rent payments. 

Although she found a new job when her health returned, her income was reduced and she could not keep up with current bills and pay off her arrears. Noticing her eldest daughter’s grades were slipping, Celina worried and began to miss work shifts in an attempt to support Mariela. Her stress increased as she her income slipped and she started to feel she had no way out. 

Once Celina connected with The Partnership, we immediately paid her arrears and negotiated a lease with the property owner to secure the family’s home. Simultaneously, through our Health & Well-being program, Celina started meeting weekly with a therapist. For the first time in her life, she had the space to talk about how a past experience of domestic violence had previously put her at risk of homelessness, and gained an understanding of how that trauma was impacting her current situation. 

Today, Celina has returned to full-time work and her family remains safely and stably housed. Her daughter is doing well at school again, and while Celina struggles with increased living costs, she feels optimistic as she continues to engage with our therapy and financial empowerment programming. 

*Names of clients have been changed to protect their confidentiality

Domestic violence, evictions and overcrowding, layered atop decades of racial and gender discrimination in housing and income policy combine with our city’s dearth of affordable housing and rental assistance to make women and children of color at increased risk of homelessness. Subsequently, a majority of women at risk of or experiencing homelessness have complex trauma that thwarts their ability to succeed in the world (and at work) and remain stably housed. Yet, many have not had access to culturally-appropriate mental health care.

Additionally, homelessness is a corrugating trauma that traps women and their children for generations. Because going into a shelter can cause significant disruptions to work and school schedules, less than half of all children in shelter graduate high school, putting them on a fast track to the kind of poverty that puts them at risk of homelessness as adults with their own children. 

This reality of homelessness is why The Partnership’s Save Homes Campaign is laser focused on ending homelessness by preventing it. For the cost of one family in shelter, our prevention programming can save the homes of 20 families, and provide them with the foundation to permanently disrupt the intergenerational cycle of homelessness.

Our Save Homes Campaign is three-fold:

  • Housing assistance: rental and financial assistance, and when necessary, rehousing to protect families surviving, or at risk of, domestic violence.
  • Crisis intervention: income, food, education, housing and benefits support.
  • Health and well-being: individual counseling, group counseling, peer support and skills trainings.

Our multi-year Save Homes Fund makes this work possible and provides an opportunity for all New Yorkers to partner with each other and take collective action to end homelessness. Together, our donations can save the homes of thousands of more families like Celina’s. As you recognize Black and Women’s History Months, we invite you to contribute what you can to the Save Homes Fund to make homelessness history for all women and children of color in NYC.

Ask friends to support The Partnership.