Family Homelessness in 2023 in New York City: A Snapshot

By: Maribel Maria, Policy Associate, HFH and Caroline Iosso, Senior Policy Associate, HFH

As the new year begins, we’re taking a look at family homelessness in New York City in 2023. Continuing the upward trend that began in 2022, family homelessness increased considerably in 2023. As of the end of December 2023, the number of families with children living in Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelters has risen to over 19,400. This is an overall increase of about 6,600 families, or 53%, since the beginning of the calendar year and roughly 11,000 families, or 134%, since the initial surge in the family shelter census in the Spring of 2022.

A snapshot of some key metrics pertaining to family homelessness in New York City is below. While reviewing these figures, it is critical to understand that they represent thousands of families with children affected by the systemic issues that have led to this increase in the census – among them, long-existing problems of a lack of a living wage, difficulty accessing affordable childcare, underemployment, the high cost of housing, and rising inflation. In addition, the influx of asylum seekers to New York City, which first saw an uptick in 2022, continued through 2023. These new New Yorkers have also had to navigate the challenges that existed in the city before their arrival. All of these conditions led to record-high levels of family homelessness this year.

As the City continues to address the rise in homelessness, we will monitor how the family shelter census changes.

Month with the steepest increase: May 2023
Rate of increase for the year overall: 52.9%
Highest number of children in shelter – number and date of occurrence: 33,182 children on November 23, 2023
Average # of families with children in shelter for 2023: 16,285
Average # of individuals in families with children for 2023: 53,208
Average # of children in families with children for 2023: 27,794
Average # of school-aged children in shelter (January 2023 – September 2023)*: 20,644
Highest average # of school-aged children in shelter and month of occurrence*: 25,347 in September 2023

Visit last year’s Snapshot on Family Homelessness 2022 here.

*data available through September 2023
Data Sources:
Department of Homeless Services Daily Report via NYC Open Data –
Department of Homeless Services Data Dashboards –