Domestic Violence Emerges As Economic Scourge And Primary Driver Of Homelessness
November 10, 2016
Source: Crain’s New York
by Rosa Goldensohn and Gerald Schifman
Until recently, Tiffanie Hughes, 21, was attending community college and waitressing while raising her infant son. But as her 51-year-old live-in boyfriend became increasingly abusive, her grades suffered and she dropped out of school.
“I messed up because I was just going through a lot with him,” said the Staten Island native, fighting back tears. “I wasn’t focused, how I usually am. And I wanted to finish school so bad. That’s one of the things that I really want to do.”
On Oct. 8, her boyfriend slashed her across the chest. Hughes fled the apartment they shared and entered the city’s homeless shelter system. As the city’s homeless-shelter population surged toward October’s historic high of 60,000 and the issue began to dominate front pages, fingers have been pointed at the usual suspects—mental illness, addiction, a tight housing market, landlords and low wages.
But violence in the home has cost more New Yorkers their homes this year than any other factor. It surpassed eviction as the top reason for shelter entrance in early 2016, according to Department of Homeless Services data obtained by Crain’s through a Freedom of Information request. The problem is hardly new, however. For the last decade, domestic-violence survivors and their families have comprised more than a quarter of those housed by the agency, a number that has crept up over the past few years while evictions have dramatically decreased, perhaps because the city began providing free legal services to help people stay in their homes….READ MORE