McDonald’s Dollar Menu is Top Survival Resource for the Homeless: Survey

By Kevin Deutsch
[email protected]

How do New York City’s homeless survive on the streets? For many, its with the help of the McDonald’s $1 menu.

The Homeless Shelter Directory, a popular resource for people living on the streets – as well as care providers – recently conducted a survey asking the homeless how they survive with little or no money.

“The top answer was by far the $1 menu at McDonald’s,” the survey found.

Local food pantries were the second most popular resource, the web site found.

“The dollar menu for McDonald’s is always a top resource for the homeless to eat a hot meal,” Mike Manning, owner of, told Bronx Justice News. “There are food pantries and soup kitchens at so many locations across the country, but the problem with most of them them is their sporadic nature. ”

Manning said there are so many McDonald’s that “there is always one around,” regardless of where a homeless person is located.

“And the prices are so cheap all they have to do is ask for a few bucks from some passers by and get themselves a quick hot meal,” Manning said.

In a secondary polling question, the survey found most money the homeless receive for meals comes from people who give them cash.

New York City is experiencing a homelessness crisis, reflecting a nationwide trend in America’s major metropolitan areas.

A survey by Coalition for the Homeless last year found nearly 64,000 homeless people living in city shelters, with the number at 62,391 as of September—the last month for which data from the organization was available.

Many of the homeless are children, experts said.

African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 57 percent of heads of household in shelters are African-American, 32 percent are Latino, seven percent are white, less than one percent are Asian-American or Native American, and 3 percent are of an unknown race or ethnicity.

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.