Lack of Education, Low Wages Driving Homelessness in Bronx: Data

Credit: The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

By Kevin Deutsch

The Bronx neighborhoods of Mott Haven and University Heights have some of the highest levels of housing instability in New York City, due in part to lack of formal education and the low wages being paid many Bronxites, according to a new report.

Sixty-six percent of University Heights residents work in low-wage occupations—defined in the report as jobs with median incomes less than $30,240 per year—while 40 percent of Mott Haven residents failed to graduate high school, according to findings by the Manhattan-based Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, which examined the dynamics of New York City’s rising homelessness rate.

Borough-wide, nearly 29 percent of Bronx residents lack a high school diploma—more than any other borough, according to the report. The second highest total was Brooklyn, where 19.3 percent of residents did not finish high school.

The Bronx and Brooklyn also have the highest unemployment rates in the city; 11.6 and 8.1 percent respectively, the institute’s researchers found.

Credit: The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

Other Bronx-related findings from the report:

  • More than 12,500 families slept in city homeless shelters as of December 2018—a 55% increase over the last decade, the Institute’s report said. Domestic violence and eviction were the primary drivers of homelessness, researchers found. “While alarming, this growing number represents only a fraction of the City’s homeless families,” the report said. “Less visible and harder to count are the thousands that sleep in temporary and overcrowded doubled-up arrangements, pay out-of-pocket to stay in motels, or live unsheltered in places not meant for human habitation.”
  • More than 33 percent of Bronx households are “severely rent burdened,” the report said, meaning their inhabitants spend 50 percent or more of their income on rent. The Bronx’s percentage of severely rent burdened units is the highest in the city.
  • Among the five boroughs, the Bronx has the second-highest percentage of single mothers with children under five living in poverty: 41.3 percent. Staten Island has the most, with 43 percent, researchers found.
  • Mott Haven had 648 families enter the city’s homeless shelter system, second only to East New York’s 650 families, according to 2015 data examined by the researchers.
  • Citywide, the Concourse/Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx had the highest number of overall family homeless shelter units, as well as the highest number of cluster site units. One in five of the city’s family cluster site units was located in the neighborhood.
About Kevin Deutsch 265 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, drugs, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Post, among other publications. His numerous television appearances include spots on CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN's BookTV. He has also been featured in The New Yorker. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.