The February 2007 figures from Department of Homeless Services says there are 34,465 homeless people living in municipal shelters in New York City. Among them, 13,790 are children followed by single men at 13,254. There are 5,355 adults in families which also includes single mothers. At 1,927, the share of homeless single women living in various homeless shelters is the lowest.
The DHS broadly defines homeless people into two categories: single adults and families. Single adults are further divided into three groups depending upon the nature of their homeless condition. Chronic and episodic cases are often associated with psychiatric disability, substance abuse and prison history, while transitional short-term cases are often associated with temporary unemployment. On the other hand, homeless families consists of single mothers with children; married or domestically partnered couples; parents with adult children; and adult siblings.
But the homeless advocacy groups have a slightly different set of statistics on homeless shelter population. The Coalition for the Homeless in its March 2007 figures says there are 35,113 homeless people sleeping in city shelters, an increase of 11.1 percent. The number of homeless families also rose by 17.6 percent; there are now 9,190 homeless families including single mothers sleeping in municipal shelters all around the city. These statistics released in a report titled State of the Homeless 2007 show an 18.1 percent jump in the the number of homeless children in February 2007 pushing the total figure to 14,219. In February 2007, the Department of Homeless Services reported an average of 9,287 families in the homeless shelters which, the Coalition report says, is a record high number of homeless families living in municipal shelters. A significant portion of the homeless families are headed by single mothers. Advocacy groups say over 60 percent of single mothers are victims of domestic violence.