Poverty and Hunger in NYC

Homelessness and hunger are very closely related. People who are homeless have a higher chance of being hungry than anyone else. Forty-two percent of New York City households – 2.7 million men, women, and children — lack the income needed to cover basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, and childcare (cityharvest.org). Housing and food are necessities for life, yet they are overpriced. This is one reason why people don’t have a lot of the resources they need. Homelessness and hunger are two very important topics that are hurting our world, and they need to be stopped.

Nineteen point five percent of New York is in poverty. However, in April 2018, there were 62,498 homeless people, including 15,176 homeless families with 22,801 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population. The government can help, but they aren’t helping. Houses cost so much money, but people need them. Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction, doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing, domestic violence, job loss, and hazardous housing conditions.

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. Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems. African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 31 percent are Latino, 7 percent are white, less than 1 percent are Asian-American, and 3 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity (coalitionforthehomeless.org). Some people with privilege aren’t helping either. Most people feel like it is not their problem. Therefore, people are homeless. Homelessness leads to another important topic: hunger.

Nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers face hunger every year, including close to one in five New York City children. The number of food insecure people in NYC is larger than the population of Dallas, Texas (cityharvest.org). The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the lack of access, at times, to enough food for all household members. One in six children struggle with hunger. One in eight people struggle with hunger. People facing hunger in New York are estimated to report needing $1,242,696,000 per year to meet their food needs. Thirty-four point seven percent of households receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits have children (feedingamerica.org). In 2011, households with children reported a significantly higher food insecurity rate than households without children: 20.6% vs. 12.2%. Forty-nine million Americans struggle to put food on the table. In the US, hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty (dosomething.org). There is enough food, but people aren’t helping. The government can take action, but they aren’t. A reason people are hungry is because they don’t have money and food is overpriced. Some people with privilege aren’t helping either because they feel like it is not their problem. Therefore, people are hungry.

As you can see, homelessness and hunger are very important topics that are impacting New York and all over the world in a bad way. We need food and housing, yet most people can’t afford them. More people can be helping, yet most aren’t. I hope this essay will encourage people to help people in need or share their resources to the less fortunate. Some people don’t care or don’t think it’s their problem, but I hope they realize it is. Most people with privilege think they are better just because they have money, yet they don’t realize some people don’t have money at all. A lot of people who help don’t have some of the necessities for life and some don’t have any. All in all, we need to help the less fortunate for a better future.


Works Cited

Ink, Social. “Facts About Hunger.” City Harvest, www.cityharvest.org/facts-about-hunger/.

“Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City.” Coalition For The Homeless, www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/.

“New York.” Feeding America, www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/new-york/.

“11 Facts About Hunger in the US.” DoSomething.org | Volunteer for Social Change, www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-hunger-us.


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