Homeless Shelter Census Numbers by Community District

Data from NYC DHS, pre-COVID-19.

Hover over a Community District to learn the Community District number and the total number of people in shelters, located in that Community District.

Unfair Share Per Capita

Last week The Greater Harlem Coalition published total homeless shelter resident totals by borough. This post raised a question, however, on whether or not the per capita distribution of homeless shelter residents would show a different pattern or not.

The answer is no. Staten Island, even on a per capita basis, does not even remotely pull its fair share in the homeless crisis.

Unfair Share

Recently, after years of struggle, The Greater Harlem Coalition was able to obtain data on homeless shelter populations at the community board level. The Department of Homeless Services has fought us for years, and resisted numerous FOIL requests, simply to protect the mayor and to justify the status quo where homeless sheters are eggregeously unfairly apportioned.

A quick look at the data below (from January 31, 2020) almost implies that New York has 4 boroughs.

Note how Staten Island has a virtually insignificant number of homeless shelter residents.

As many political observers have noted, Staten Island scares the bejeezus out of elected officials who are loathe to rile them up. (Recall that during the discussion regarding De Blasio’s plan to replace Rikers Jail with smaller, borough-based jails, Staten Island was somehow allowed to be the only borough that would not get a new jail.)

The powerful, conservative voting block/s on Staten Island, and the politicians on the Island and at City Hall who cater to them, shield that borough from pulling its fair share.

Research on Homeless Shelters

Given so much push back on placement of homeless shelters, the latest being on Upper West Side and West Harlem, we thought some facts and research material would be helpful.

There are about 60,000 individuals who do not have a permanent home in NYC. The majority of these are families who typically enter shelter when they can no longer afford to pay rent due to job loss or other hardship.

Times are tough. We encourage all districts to help take care of their own residents who fall into hard times. Unfortunately, “most homeless families are not sheltered in the communities they come from.” Currently, only about 50% of children are placed in shelters in areas where they have been going to school. In fact, there are 12 districts in NYC with no family shelters at all.

Regarding single homeless adults, “Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have much higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.” These adults should be placed in small settings fairly distributed in areas where the individual used to reside, and with adequate social services to support them. 

Times are tough. Let’s all help each other while keeping fair share and equity in mind. We need to strike a delicate balance for the sake of our beloved NYC. click here to see a list of homeless shelters and methadone clinics in Harlem

See these 2 links for more info and our quotes: https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/
https://www.icphusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Shelter-DynamicsFinal07819.pdf

The graphic is plotted based on Shelter Score Card data: “https://fordham.carto.com/u/shill18/builder/8f51c8fb-6910-48d3-ae9d-35ffadfed443/embed”

SHELTER AND HOMELESS STATISTICS and building plan

  • 2021: Shelters purchased by the city to end reliance on cluster sites (CityLimits)
  • 2017: Mayor’s building plan for shelters (goodnewsnetwork)
  • 2016-2019: NYC: In 12 years, NYC homeless population surged 40% from 2011. The City counted almost 4000 people sleeping on the street and there is a 50-60,000 homeless population. Mayor launched turn the tide campaign to set up 130 shelters in the city – (Daily Mail Online, nydailynews.com, Curbed NY)

BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON nimby’s attepts TO PUSH BACK ON PLACEMENT OF HOMELESS SHELTERS

  • 2021 Jan: West Harlem pushes back on homeless shelter on 145th st. (Patch)
  • 2020 Dec: NYC Districts pushes back on housing affordable housing planned by Mayor – (nytimes.com)
  • 2020 Dec: NYC Upper West Side: The residents in Upper West Side Lucerne homeless shelter filed a law suit on decision to relocate them – (nydailynews.com)
  • 2020 Nov: NYC Downtown: Downtown residents filed a law suit against movement of homeless shelter to downtown hotel – (nydailynews.com)
  • 2019 Nov: NYC Ozone Park: 500 residents pushed back on new homeless shelter. 1 man went on hunger strike! – (citylimits.org)
  • 2018 Jul: NYC Midtown: Billionaires Row group sues city over homeless shelter plan – (Nydailynews.com, Fox News)
  • 2016: Central Harlem at 136th Street pushed back on another homeless shelter (Medium.com)

advocacy for safety issues in adult only shelters in nyc and harlem

  • 2012: NYC Harlem: Wards Island Homeless population of 1000 has one bus M35 and the only drop off point is… 125 street and Lexington. The City Limits claimed many of these men are ex convicts and sex offenders – (citylimits.org)
  • 2019 Sept: NYC Harlem Wards Island: Wards Island Homeless Shelter managed by Andrew Cuomo’s sister gets new 4 year renewal worth 45 million despite 22 code citation- (THE CITY)
  • 2019 Dec: Description of the medical challenges faced by residents in homeless shelters in New York City – (The New York Medical Journal)
  • 2017: 44 year old man stabbed to death in Central Harlem’s shelter by BRC (CBS news)
  • 2016: To mask the unsafe conditions in shelters, the city redefined how incidents are tracked in the system (NY Daily News)
  • 2016: 62 year old man stabbed to death in East Harlem’s shelter boulevard for single homeless men with mental issues (NBC)

(Jan 14) Greater Harlem Coalition 2021 Townhall

Speaker will include our three founders: Syderia Asberry-Chresfield, Carolyn Brown, Shawn Hill. Guest speaker is Mount Sinai

14 Jan 2021 ( 7-830 pm)

Register to join the meeting here

Protest at the Lucerne

You likely have heard how some residents of the Upper West Side raised a significant amount of money to fund a legal campaign to force homeless New Yorkers out of the Lucerne Hotel which the DHS had contracted to house homeless New Yorkers so they wouldn’t be at risk of COVID in congregant shelters

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Today members of HNBA and The Greater Harlem Coalition attended a protest and press conference to note that our community – East Harlem and Harlem – has had more than its fair share of shelters for decades, and that all communities in New York need to take their fair share of shelter residents in this pandemic until permanent residences can be built/found.

As the 2017 NY City Council Report on Fair Share noted:

Residential Beds in East Harlem

Manhattan Community District 11, with 52 beds per 1,000 residents, or 4% of all residential facility beds in the city, embodies the legacy of decades of poor planning by and coordination between City and State governments and the failures of Fair Share. A low-income community of color, it is third in the city’s beds-to-population ration.


Manhattan CD11, composed primarily of East Harlem and Wards/Randall’s Island, is home to 1,082 chemical dependency treatment beds, 1,312 mental health treatment beds, and 2,691 shelter and transitional housing beds. The community hosts 5% of all Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter beds, 19% of all State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)-licensed beds, and 11% of all State Office of Mental Health (OMH)-licensed beds in the city.


Distributional equity does not only mean equity between community districts, though that is a reasonable unit of analysis, but also equity within community districts – as the Fair Share Criteria recognize in their directive to specifically consider facilities within one half-mile of a proposed facility as well as the total number of facilities within the community district. Yet Manhattan 11 fails this test of equity too, with one-third of the DHS, OASAS, and OMH beds in the district located between 116th St. and 126th St. between the East River and Park Avenue. If facilities were perfectly evenly distributed between the City’s 59 community districts, each district would host 1.7% of each facility type.

https://council.nyc.gov/news/2017/02/27/fairshare/

Update: Homeless Shelter Planned for 1763-1771 Amsterdam Ave.

Notes from the CB9 subcommittee meeting regarding the Homeless Shelter plans in Harlem.

There was a good community showing last night at the CB9 sub-committee meeting concerning a new shelter that is being proposed for 1763-1771 Amsterdam Avenue.
Some of the points were:

  • It’s not a done deal—negotiations between the developer and the city (DHS) continue.
  • The initial lease of the building will be for 9 years.
  • The figure floated as an approximate cost per unit per month ($4,000) was not disputed by the DHS staff.
  • This building will house ‘families’ in 350-400 square foot studio apartments.
  • Families were defined as a parent with one child, or a pregnant woman.
  • DHS pushed back when asked why DHS doesn’t site shelters in wealthier neighborhoods by asking the community to suggest sites in the Upper East Side for them to consider.
  • DHS claimed to have conducted a Fair Share study but failed to produce it.
  • DHS claimed to have data on shelter numbers but didn’t have it at the meeting and deflected to DHS shelter counts (shelters, not beds) and refused to acknowledge any information about State or private shelters in Harlem.
  • DHS was evasive when questions about how this project shifted from being promoted as an affordable housing project to becoming a homeless shelter asked for details/clarity.
  • DHS was unwilling to give contract details, dollar amounts, or even estimates of how much the 9-year lease was worth.

Transitional Homeless Shelter Planned for 1763-1771 Amsterdam Ave Between W 148th St and W 149th St.

Come speak out about an oversaturation of homeless services in Harlem.

The NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) will discuss their proposed plan to Community Board 9 on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm.

NYC DHS, along with a developer, intends to open a transitional shelter in an already oversaturated community. Based on the originally published information, this was initially slated to be residential housing. This site is the location of the funeral for Malcolm X.

Community Board 9 needs residential affordable housing. Why was this site changed to transitional housing?

The Greater Harlem Coalition investigated where homeless shelters are located in NYC. Here is a map of homeless shelter concentrations.

The Sugar Hill Concerned Neighbors Group (SHCNG) supports permanent affordable housing. We need other areas of New York City to do their part.

Come and make your voice heard!

Townhall Meeting
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
6:30 pm
Fortune Society Castle Gardens
625 West 140th Street

Email: SHCH@gmail.com

P.O. Box 438 – Audubon Station, NY, NY 10032

What is Fair Share?

In 2017, NYC City Council wrote a report outlining the policy of even distribution—fair sharing—of public services, both beneficial and least desirable.

Communities of color and lower socioeconomic status, such as Harlem and East Harlem, have historically been the dumping ground for services unwanted in other communities.

It is time to distribute these services evenly throughout the city. These include drug treatment facilities, homeless shelters, halfway houses, mental health facilities, waste treatment facilities.

In the 1989 City Charter (Section 203) it was required of the City Planning Commission to adopt the following criteria:

to further the fair distribution of the burdens and benefits associated with city facilities, consistent with community needs for services and efficient and cost effective delivery of services and with due regard for the social and economic impacts of such facilities upon the areas surrounding the sites.

The fair share criteria guide was previously revised in 1998, when Rudy Giuliani was mayor.

We ask that our federal government representatives, Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Sen. Charles Schumer ensure that funding, such as that established to address the opioid epidemic, be used efficiently and effectively, by placing facilities where they are most needed, and that the facilities be evenly distributed.

https://council.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-Fair-Share-Report.pdf

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/about/publications/fair_share_guide.pdf