Did the Main Reasons Families Were Found Eligible for the City’s Homeless Shelters in 2002-2012 Vary Depending Upon the Type of Housing They Previously Had?

Over the years 2002-2012, about 60 percent of the more than 75,000 homeless families with children entering the city’s shelter system had either a building with rent regulated apartments (43 percent) or a New York City Housing Authority development (16 percent) listed as their last address prior to shelter. The other families came from unregulated private housing (39 percent) or specialized facilities (2 percent), including residential rehabilitation centers. There was some variation in the leading reasons families were approved for shelter that depended upon which type of housing families last lived in.


  • Of the more than 32,000 family shelter entrants in 2002-2012 who previously lived in buildings containing rent-regulated units, nearly a third were found eligible because of eviction. Likewise, just over a third of the nearly 30,000 families that entered the shelters from unregulated private housing were also found eligible due to eviction.
  • Overcrowding was the second most common reason families last living in rent-regulated housing were found eligible for shelter. For those families coming from unregulated private housing, domestic violence edged out overcrowding as the second most frequent reason for shelter eligibility.
  • For the more than 12,000 family shelter entries that had public housing as their most recent address, the most frequent reason they were found eligible for shelter was overcrowding, closely followed by domestic violence, the second most common reason.

For more details on the living situations of families before entering the shelter system, see IBO’s recent report: “The Rising Number of Homeless Families in NYC, 2002-2012: A Look at Why Families Were Granted Shelter, the Housing They Had Lived in & Where They Came From.

 New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data provided by Department of Homeless Services, New York City Housing Authority, Department of Finance, and the New York
State Division of Homes and Community Renewal
NOTE: IBO was able to match prior address data for 79 percent of the 95,906 shelter entry records during the 2002-2012 study period. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Print version available here.

New York City By The Numbers

IBO Homepage