After the Shouting, Do Shelters and Supportive Housing Harm Neighborhoods?


Jesse Coburn


February 25, 2015


This article which cites research studies and data tries to answer the following questions in the wake of disputes against shelters for homeless in NY: What effects do residential facilities for the homeless really have on their surroundings? Are the anti-shelter groups in Far Rockaway, Glendale, Elmhurst and on the Upper West Side right? Does housing for the homeless put an undue strain on local services and pose a threat to schoolchildren? Does the city give communities too little input or concentrate such facilities unfairly in certain neighborhoods?

What does the research say?

Researchers say that two of the most common concerns about residences for the homeless—shelters and supportive housing—are that they will reduce property values and increase crime. Accordingly, these claims have received the most attention in scholarship.

... fears about housing for the homeless can be overblown—a finding that largely reinforces broader research.

What’s to blame for this gap between expectations and outcomes, between perhaps understandable assumptions and more nuanced truths? “They just don’t want the idea of a shelter in their neighborhood,” said Johnson, the resident of the Westchester Square facility, of local opponents. Sometimes, it seems, ideas can be more menacing than reality.





Jesse Coburn, “After the Shouting, Do Shelters and Supportive Housing Harm Neighborhoods?,” I4E: Housing4All Digital Library, accessed December 10, 2023,

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