The recently released Point in Time (PIT) count from the U.S. Department of Housing and Preservation provides valuable information about who is homeless in the United States – information that shapes the conversation around resource allocation.
The 2019 PIT count shows that homeless domestic violence survivors were again the third largest sub-population – with 6,056 domestic violence survivors either using shelter or unsheltered. And this number does not include the many children who become homeless when their parents flee an unsafe situation. In New York City, domestic violence tragically continues to be the largest generator of family homelessness.
Despite the PIT count’s stark reminder of the magnitude of homelessness caused by domestic violence, survivors in New York City do not have access to the housing resources available to other homeless subpopulations. These resources include set-aside units in City-assisted affordable housing, equal access to rental subsidies and supportive housing, and designation as the highest priority for public housing.
Family homelessness has an intergenerational impact: We know that homelessness and domestic violence affect both the short- and long-term health and well-being of children as well as their ability to learn at school. If we do not address survivors’ need for a permanent home, the cycles of domestic violence and homelessness are likely to be experienced by the next generation.
We urge both City and State officials to prioritize families and domestic violence survivors when developing affordable housing programs and policies.