A recent New York Timeseditorial states that under the Obama administration the homeless population has remained steady. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided $840 billion as stimulus monies included a $1.5 billion program that providing housing, rental assistance and temporary aid to people who had suddenly become homeless. But the editorial also notes, while conditions might be improving for homeless individuals, things are bleak for families with children. The National Women’s Law Center reported findings that in 2010, over 40 percent of single-mother families were poor; African-American and Hispanic single-mothers families living in poverty were 48 percent and 50 percent respectively.
By now we’ve all seen this video of a police officer giving a homeless man a pair of boots, however, we need to take a moment think about the true face of homelessness and poverty in New York City. Of the 50,000 people experiencing homelessness more than 20,000 are children, as reported by the Coalition for Homelessness. There are over 11,000 families living in shelters and, according to a 2005 Vera Institute of Justice report for NYC Department of Homeless services, 89% are headed by women.