The Project provides an intimate look at the experience of poverty over New York City’s history. The site investigates public policies that have shaped the lives of the poor and homeless and shows how the past continues to influence the present. With comprehensive timelines, analytical maps, striking images, primary sources, and informative essays, this site is geared toward students, teachers, service providers, and policymakers with an interest in the history of these intractable issues.

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH)

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is an independent nonprofit research and policy-analysis organization whose work illuminates the complex issue of family homelessness and informs and enhances public policy related to homeless families, especially children.

Child and family poverty in New York City are not new. Destitute families and homeless children have existed throughout American history, especially in urban areas. This long history of poverty, and of public and private relief efforts, continues to offer lessons for those shaping public policy today. For this reason, ICPH has made a commitment—unique among research organizations of its kind—to in-depth historical research on family poverty and homelessness in New York City.

To learn about related ICPH projects, go to

The Book

ThePoorAmongUs_frontcover.jpgConditions that perpetuate homelessness and poverty today have deep roots in America’s past. In The Poor Among Us: A History of Family Poverty and Homelessness in New York City, Ralph da Costa Nunez and Ethan G. Sribnick explore the world of New York’s poor children and families, from the era of European settlement to the present day: their physical and social environments, the causes of their poverty, and the institutions and social movements that evolved to improve and regulate their lives. This comprehensive history examines the successes and failures of past efforts to reduce poverty and homelessness, providing the historical context that is often lacking in contemporary policy debates.

Published by White Tiger Press, the book is available for purchase at or



Thanks to the Community Service Society of New York, the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the New-York Historical Society, and the New York Public Library for assistance with research and permission to use material from their collections.

Contact Us

The Web site is a project of the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness.

Ralph Da Costa Nunez, President and CEO

Phone: 212-358-8086



44 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10003


Media, Participation in Conferences or Events, and Partnership Inquiries, please contact the External Affairs staff at