The Coalition for the Homeless annual report, State of the Homeless, grades both New York City and State on their abilities to meet the needs of unsheltered individuals, offer access to low-barrier shelters and psychiatric services, and provide affordable housing options for extremely low-income and homeless individuals and homelessness prevention. The Coalition found that in 2021 there were a record number of homeless individuals that died in New York, with the leading cause of deaths being drug-related. This was consistent with citywide and national trends, increasing by 81 percent, from 131 in Fiscal Year 2020 to 237 in Fiscal Year 2021. Overall, the report consistently ranks both the city and state very poorly on their ability to meet the needs of its unsheltered individuals.
However, the city received an “A” grade mark for their eviction prevention efforts. In 2017, New York City became the first city in the nation to initiate a right to counsel in housing court and administrative termination of tenancy proceedings for all low-income tenants facing eviction. The law was to be phased in over five years, but the city accelerated implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that tenants citywide would have access to an attorney to help them navigate the eviction process and assert their rights. Prior to the pandemic, residential evictions by marshals declined by 41 percent between 2013 and 2019. In Fiscal Year 2021, legal organizations funded by the Office of Civil Justice provided legal assistance to more than 42,000 households facing eviction, disrepair, landlord harassment, and other problems – more than in any prior year, even as the number of eviction filings fell due to pandemic protections. The report concludes by making several recommendations to the Mayor and Governor to help unsheltered individuals.