Improving PATH: Dismantling Barriers to Shelter for Homeless Families with Children

New York City is well-known, and often lauded, for having a right to shelter for people experiencing homelessness. That legal requirement has been transformative and has resulted in a city where the majority of people without homes are sheltered. However, accessing shelter is not as simple as walking through the door; New Yorkers in need face structural barriers to accessing shelter. Homeless families with children must demonstrate that they have no other place to stay in order to get access to shelter. Families applying for shelter—overwhelmingly Black and Latinx—face a system that is set up to turn them away—to distrust and question their requests for help. They face a system that often adds to, rather than ameliorates, the trauma they have experienced.