Homelessness in Los Angeles and New York City: A Tale of Two Cities

  • Benjamin F. HenwoodEmail author
  • Deborah K. Padgett


The epidemic of homelessness in the late 1980s prompted dramatic increases in government funding that local jurisdictions deployed in differing ways. No two cities were more divergent in addressing homelessness than New York and Los Angeles. With a strong state-city agreement to fund housing and shelters and a right-to-shelter legal mandate, New York followed an assertive and multifaceted approach. In contrast, Los Angeles took a narrower focus, relying on faith-based organizations and concentrating its homeless population in a circumscribed Skid Row. This chapter critically examines the role of civic values, rights-based advocacy, and charitable institutions in shaping responses to urban homelessness. Implications for social policy and practice are offered that reflect local conditions in US cities.


New York Los Angeles Housing First Shelter Skid Row Homeless count Housing and Urban Development Housing First Homelessness Services Industrial Complex Institutional circuit Single room occupancy (SRO) HUD-VASH Housing stability Cost savings NY/NY Agreements NIMBY Assertive community treatment Scatter-site housing Medicaid Federal McKinney-Vento Containment Policy Faith-based missions Safer Cities Initiative Unsheltered homelessness Affordable housing 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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