For too long, domestic violence has been the number one cause of family homelessness in New York City, with 41% of families entering shelter because of abuse. While there is no single solution to ending family homelessness, we know that there are policy changes that can significantly expand access to housing for domestic violence survivors.
Our 2021 policy recommendations can help put New York City on the path to effectively ending homelessness among survivors:
- Open the door to survivors in domestic violence shelters to New York City Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development homeless set-aside units
- Level the playing field for homeless families looking for housing with a New York City rental subsidy
- Include all homeless New Yorkers in the daily count of individuals and families in shelter
- Develop a $10M Innovation Fund to support emerging best practices that mitigate or avoid the trauma of homelessness for survivors and their children
Our advocacy, often in collaboration with other organizations, has resulted in changes to regulations and additional resources for both domestic violence survivors in the homeless shelter system and those at-risk of becoming homeless.
- In 2006-07 New Destiny developed and implemented a Task Force on Domestic Violence and Permanent Housing to address the challenging gulf between homeless domestic violence survivors and access to affordable housing.
- In October 2007, a year after the Task Force began, Mayor Bloomberg announced the City’s adoption of 7 of 12 Task Force proposals. Two other initiatives to increase permanent housing options for survivors were developed by Sanctuary for Families and New Destiny.
Ten years later, permanent housing remains the most critical unmet need of homeless domestic violence survivors; and family homelessness now accounts for 70% of the individuals in shelter, including over 23,000 children each night.
In 2016 New Destiny, Enterprise Community Partners and Citizen’s Committee for Children co-convened the Family Homelessness Task Force, a group of 40 organizations– service and shelter providers, advocacy and legal services organizations, and housing providers– to focus on the issue of homeless families with children and to begin sourcing ideas for addressing the problem.
In June, 2017 the Task Force held a summit and released a report with recommendations intended to help prevent homelessness, improve the well-being of families and children using homeless shelters, and increase the permanent housing options and post-shelter services for homeless families. The co-conveners have established the Family Homelessness Coalition which advocates for policies and resources that prioritize homeless families with children on the City’s homelessness agenda.