Homelessness is often the result of a complex set of circumstances and a symptom of larger problems in society. Many are plunged into homelessness by forces beyond their control, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, rape and domestic abuse, mental and/or physical illness, addiction, release from prison, or fire.
- 1 in 130 New Yorkers is homeless. Most of them suffer from mental illness or other severe health problems.
- An average of around 60,000 people sleep in NYC shelters each night. 24,000 of them are children.
- Over 3,000 more sleep in NYC streets, subways, and parks each night. They are exposed to temperatures as low as -15°F and as high as 106°F.
Formerly homeless LEFSA team members speak out about what it’s like to be homeless.
“You feel all alone… like a stranger in your own land. It’s almost like you have no more voice.” – Deborah
“Being homeless was depressing. I was angry, ashamed and upset for being in that predicament. I had no relationship with God.” – Lucy
“Hopelessness leads to behaviors that include drug addiction, criminal behavior, and situations that produce a never-ending cycle of grief. Many homeless people suffer mental anguish and mental illness—magnified by the very real struggle to get affordable housing and rehabilitation.” – Vaughn
“Trapped… vulnerable to everybody and everything. This is a very lonely and isolated situation to be in.” – James