Housing and Homelessness

New York City’s rental housing vacancy rate is currently just 3.45 percent, which is well below the 5 percent threshold that defines a housing emergency. Moreover, 56 percent of City renters today are rent-burdened – paying more than 30 percent of their income towards rent. And three of every ten renters are severely rent-burdened – paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing expenses. This combination of severely constrained housing supply and unfavorable wage and rent trends has made it more difficult than ever for many individuals and families to find and maintain stable housing.

In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate, triggering causes of homelessness: eviction; doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing; domestic violence; job loss; and hazardous housing conditions. Additionally, studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are people living with mental illness or other severe health problems.

Homelessness is further compounded by racial disparities. African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Analysis of NYC shelter entry trends has found that Black and Hispanic individuals are more likely to enter shelter than other groups, with approximately 58 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents identifying as African-American and 31 percent identifying as Latino.

The Housing and Homelessness Initiative of Trinity Church Wall Street supports institutions, networks, alliances and movements that are developing strategies and approaches to eliminating homelessness and food insecurity in New York City and addressing the underlying factors for both.


  • Coalition for the Homeless, Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City
  • NYC Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence, 2016 Social Indicators Report

Ministries include:


Brown Bag Lunch Ministry

Trinity’s Brown Bag Lunch Ministry Program offers food assistance seven days a week at St. Paul’s Chapel and connects guests with other resources and benefits. Brown Bag serves an average of 600 meals in our community weekly and hosts volunteers from Trinity’s congregation, staff, and community partners. Learn more.

St. Margaret’s House

St. Margaret’s House is a 251-unit subsidized apartment building on Fulton Street for elderly and disabled residents. Its mission is to enable a community of elderly and disabled individuals to live in a secure environment that fosters independence, mutual respect, and dignity. Learn More.