October 24, 2023
By: Julie Kronick
Every parent wants their child to enjoy a successful future. So often, parents will work as hard as they can to ensure safety and opportunity for their youngest family members—a universal hope. So, imagine the overwhelming anxiety you would feel as it became increasingly difficult to afford what was necessary for you and your child: affordable day care to help you keep working to provide for them; a comfortable home that did not consume your finances; funds for your next healthy meal together. For so many New York City families—our own neighbors—this stress meets them at every corner.
Recently, in the news media, NYC’s widespread unaffordability crisis—from child care, to housing, to data from the city on timelessness of benefits processing for families in need—has made headline after headline. And at the center of these issues are families with young children. This month, the New York Times published an article exposing the reality that the youngest in our communities (children under 5) are the hardest hit by housing insecurity across the country.
Right now, roughly 32,000 children are sleeping in NYC shelters every night and these families spend an average of more than a year in shelter. The NY Times article reveals that Black children under 5 nationally experience a higher risk of eviction, which is also seen in NYC data, as the majority of children in shelter are Black or Latine. Data analyzed by CCC and partner organizations find similar inequity in NYC across data for rent burdened households, child poverty rates, and families involved in child welfare investigations correlating with population demographics.
In the article, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond is quoted, having contributed to the study cited in the piece through his leadership at the Princeton Eviction Lab. “When I started writing about these issues, I kind of thought kids would shield families from eviction, but they expose families to eviction,” Desmond stated of the findings. Households that face economic stresses related to housing also tend to deal with other insecurities financially, including food insecurity and more.
Much of CCC’s work demonstrates that families can avoid eviction, child welfare involvement, and more when they have access to financial supports, services like child care, and affordable housing. At the height of the pandemic, federal aid programs showed us just how much of an impact cash assistance has on reducing child poverty and related barriers to family well-being. Expanded tax credits, emergency rental assistance, increased allotments for SNAP benefits and the like, and more all contributed to a drop in child poverty rates, increasing the financial security of families. As these programs have all sadly expired, CCC is continuing to push for systemic changes that will benefit families experiencing economic precarity with strong data supporting known solutions and helping to influence policymakers.
This is exactly why calling out proven solutions and collaboration in reducing child poverty at this year’s Breakfast is both timely and essential in continuing to champion real change. Our Celebration Breakfast taking place on the morning of Tuesday, October 31 will honor The Bridge Project, The Family Homelessness Coalition Fellows, and life-long researcher and Trudy B. Festinger, D.S.W as well as feature keynote speaker Matthew Desmond, mentioned earlier as quoted in the New York Times piece. We will be stepping back to look at our own progress as well as acknowledging the work of these dedicated advocates who have, in their own portfolios, spearheaded poverty reduction advocacy from different and critical angles.
Purchase tickets to join us at this year’s Celebration Breakfast to help us honor these advocates and hear a thoughtful talk from Matthew Desmond on his new book, Poverty, By America. Funds raised by this breakfast will help us combat housing insecurity, reinforce poverty-fighting policy solutions for families in New York City, and continue to advance our research, civic engagement and advocacy designed to improve the lives of children in our communities.