21K NYC Kids Spent January in Homeless Shelter Crisis at its worst since Great Depression: advocate By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Mar 5, 2013 2:46 PM CST 28 comments Comments April Gayles, center, with her children Angelina, left, and Nicholas, 6, playing nearby, are seen Oct. 3, 2012 in New York. Gayles is a stylist who became homeless shortly after moving to the city. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) (Newser) – As the sheer number of homeless people grows in cities like New York, the shape of the problem is changing: More of America's homeless are now families, the Wall Street Journal reports. On a national scale, their numbers grew 1.4% between 2011 and 2012, while individual cities also saw increases: Boston's 1,166 homeless families in December of last year marked a 7.8% increase from 2011, and Washington, DC, saw an 18% jump over the period. New York City, meanwhile, is "facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression," says an advocate. Homeless shelters there housed an average of 11,984 families a night this January, while more than 21,000 children spent every night that month in a shelter. The latter marks a record 1% of New York youth, and the figure is up 22% from a year before, a report finds. Longer-term, New York has seen its number of homeless families soar 73% since 2002, thanks in part to the financial and mortgage crises.