Poll On Homelessness Reveals Residents From Harlem To Houston Would Support A Homeless Shelter On Their Block

As New York City faces a worsening homelessness crisis, a new poll from Win (formerly Women in Need) and HarrisX reveals that New Yorkers strongly agree (92 percent) that more needs to be done to combat the homelessness crisis…

and more than nine-in-ten residents (92 percent) believe that we should provide shelter to all those who need it.A majority of New Yorkers (59 percent) would support a homeless shelter opening in their own neighborhood.

Win, New York’s largest provider of shelter and services to homeless women and their families, commissioned the March poll as part of The Forgotten Face of Homelessness: Housing Instability, a citywide public advocacy campaign to address the daunting challenges facing low-income New Yorkers trying to maintain housing for their families in the middle of the city’s affordable housing crisis. HarrisX surveyed 1,002 adult New Yorkers from every borough – including more than 100 people from Manhattan. Results showed broad support for solutions that could help homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers break the cycle of homelessness: 90 percent of New Yorkers support providing aftercare for families leaving homeless shelters and 80 percent support increasing the value of rent vouchers to cover the cost of housing.

“Until now, we thought there was a huge amount of controversy around solutions to the homelessness crisis,” said Christine Quinn, President and CEO of Win. “New Yorkers don’t agree on much, but the poll shows that New Yorkers believe we should do more to solve the problem of homelessness and they are willing to do their part, in their own neighborhoods.”

The poll’s findings are consistent for Manhattan, where the borough’s residents overwhelmingly agree (95 percent) that more needs to be done to combat the homelessness crisis and more than nine-in-ten residents (93 percent) believe that we should provide shelter to all those who need it. A clear majority of Manhattan residents (72 percent) would support a homeless shelter opening in their own neighborhood.

The poll’s findings are consistent for Manhattan, where the borough’s residents overwhelmingly agree (95 percent) that more needs to be done to combat the homelessness crisis and more than nine-in-ten residents (93 percent) believe that we should provide shelter to all those who need it. A clear majority of Manhattan residents (72 percent) would support a homeless shelter opening in their own neighborhood.

While New Yorkers overwhelming believe New York needs to do more, the survey also revealed that most hold a number of misconceptions about who the homeless actually are. While families with children represent over 70 percent of New York City’s homeless population, most New Yorkers believe that the city’s homeless are primarily single adults (62 percent). And while a majority of residents (65 percent) assume that having a job is enough to prevent homelessness, the reality is that one-in-three homeless families have a working adult.

While New Yorkers overwhelming believe New York needs to do more, the survey also revealed that most hold a number of misconceptions about who the homeless actually are. While families with children represent over 70 percent of New York City’s homeless population, most New Yorkers believe that the city’s homeless are primarily single adults (62 percent). And while a majority of residents (65 percent) assume that having a job is enough to prevent homelessness, the reality is that one-in-three homeless families have a working adult.

“The study shows homelessness is a rising problem and that New Yorkers expect it to worsen,” said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX. “Citizens view the cost of chronic homelessness as far exceeding the cost of driving education on the issue, building more shelters and affordable housing, and enacting policies aimed at getting homeless families back on their feet.”

Additional findings show that New York City residents believe that tough times – rather than personal choices and actions – account for why most of the city’s homeless population are homeless (55 percent cite a financial cause).

Additional findings show that New York City residents believe that tough times – rather than personal choices and actions – account for why most of the city’s homeless population are homeless (55 percent cite a financial cause).

New Yorkers voiced strong support for a wide range of policy solutions to address homelessness. These will be discussed in Win’s forthcoming policy platform focused on the housing instability of many New York City families, and include:

  • 90 percent support providing supportive services, including career counseling and help maintaining housing, for families leaving homeless shelters so that they do not need to return.
  • 87 percent support providing access to subsidized child care for homeless and formerly homeless young children.
  • 87 percent support providing tax incentives for employers who train and hire homeless and formerly homeless parents.
  • 80 percent support increasing the value of rent vouchers that some homeless families receive to help pay part of the rent for an apartment or a home.
  • 79 percent support requiring new housing developments to set aside a certain number of apartments specifically for homeless families.
  • 70 percent support creating an additional 90 homeless shelters throughout the city.

“Policy makers should take note that their constituents believe that more should be done and support a host of solutions that the homeless services community has been advocating for,” continued Quinn.

Win’s Homelessness in NYC Survey was conducted by HarrisX within New York City from March 14-19, 2019. The survey was administered both online and via phone, with the phone component completed using live, professional interviewers in English and Spanish. To ensure a readable base in each of New York City’s five boroughs, a minimum of 100 completes were collected in each borough, and then the boroughs were weighted to represent the share of the city they truly comprise. The data were also weighted demographically to accurately reflect the general population of adults living in New York City.

Since 1983, Win has been transforming the lives of New York City’s homeless women and their children by providing a holistic solution of safe housing, critical services and programs they need to succeed on their own — so the women can regain their independence and their children can look forward to a brighter future. With more than 1,600 units of transitional housing providing shelter for more than 4,600 people every night, Win focuses on solutions for the many causes of homelessness by helping women improve their job skills, life skills, personal health and more. Win’s children’s services include childcare, after school programs, and Camp Win, a summer day camp program. Win also provides permanent supportive housing offering dedicated, long-term support to families with additional needs.

HarrisX is a leading opinion research company that specializes in online polling, mixed-mode polling, and data analytics. The company has a thirteen-year history assessing public opinion and behavior in the telecom, media, and technology industries through syndicated and custom research services. HarrisX runs the Mobile Insights and Total Communication Surveys, the largest syndicated consumer insights trackers in the United States for the TMT space, which include over 60,000 monthly respondents; the Telephia (beta) metering application, which captures behavioral data; and HarrisX Overnight Poll, which delivers results of general population and voter surveys within 24 hours, looking at Americans’ opinions on society, politics, technology and the economy. For more information visit: www.harrisx.com.

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