This is 10 percent of the kids going to school in New York! The study was
done by Advocates for Children. The housing crisis in NYC is pushing
thousands of working families into the streets and shelters.
See article in New York Times.
*Ten Percent of New York City Public School Students Were Homeless Last
By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS OCT. 10, 2017
The number of homeless students in the New York City public school system
rose again last year, according to state data released on Tuesday. The
increase pushed the city over a sober milestone: One in every 10 public
school students was homeless at some point during the 2016-17 school year.
More than 111,500 students in New York City schools were homeless during
the last academic year, a 6 percent increase over the year before and
enough people to populate a small city.
Of the overall figure, 104,000 students attended regular district public
schools, while the rest were in charter schools.
Statewide, 148,000 students were homeless, or about 5 percent of the
state’s public school population.
The data was released by the New York State Technical and Education
Assistance Center for Homeless Students, a project of Advocates for
Children of New York funded by the state Education Department.
The plight of homeless students is part of the entrenched and growing
problem of homelessness confronting New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio,
who is pushing a controversial plan to expand the city’s shelter system.
After rising steadily for about five years, the number of homeless students
reported to the state shot up in the 2015-16 school year, reaching nearly
100,000 children, and in the last school year the numbers crossed that
threshold. The count this year is the highest since the state began keeping
Nationally, reliable numbers are hard to come by, but New York City has the
nation’s largest school system and perhaps its most acute housing crisis.
Not all students who are considered homeless live in shelters.
Students in temporary housing includes families living in their cars or in
hotels, or those “doubled up” with family or friends. An analysis of the
state data, conducted by Coalition for the Homeless, found that families
living with relatives or friends drove last year’s increase, with about
4,400 more students living in such situations than the year before.
The number of students in shelters increased by roughly 1,900. The upheaval
in the home lives of students in temporary housing often follows them into
school. Many of them frequently change schools as they bounce from one
temporary living situation to another.
Many are placed in shelters far from their original school, which means
they must either transfer midyear or commute long distances each day. Many
students regularly arrive late or miss days of school altogether.
Those stresses harm their academic performance. A report released this
summer by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness found that
homeless students passed the state English tests at about half the rate as
their peers who had permanent homes.
Homeless students who were designated as English Language Learners
generally took longer to become proficient in the language.
On average, the report found that one-third of homeless students miss the
equivalent of a month of school. Students living in homeless shelters had
the highest rates of chronic absenteeism, meaning they missed more than
10 percent of school days.
Liz Cohen, chief of staff at the Institute for Children, Poverty, and
Homelessness, said that while most of the city’s homeless policies are
aimed at getting people housed, the academic damage can linger long after
students find a place to live.
“The data shows that for multiple years after a student becomes housed,
they have increased rates of chronic absenteeism and decreased academic
performance,” Ms. Cohen said. “That experience stays with them.”
Mr. de Blasio’s administration has made efforts on several fronts to combat
the city’s homeless crisis. The administration is revamping the shelter
system to try to keep people closer to their home communities, rather than
shipping them across the city, a change that would allow children to stay
in their local schools.
There has also been a push to enroll more homeless students in the city’s
pre-K program. And the city’s Education Department now offers bus service
to students in kindergarten through sixth grade who are living in the
“It’s important to acknowledge what the city has done,” said Randi Levine,
policy director of Advocates for Children of New York, which released the
“But these numbers show the city should redouble its efforts.” For
example, Ms. Levine said the city has hired 43 social workers to work in
schools with high concentrations of students in temporary housing.
While that is a good step, she said, there are about 150 schools where at
least 10 percent of the students live in shelters. Jaclyn Rothenberg, a
spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said the Department of Homeless Services and
the Education Department “remain focused on addressing the unique needs of
students in temporary housing, which is why we’ve worked together to expand
dedicated staffing and programming, established a real-time data feed
between the agencies to most effectively provide support to families on the
verge of and experiencing homelessness.’’
The New York City Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on Wednesday about
students in temporary housing and discuss three related bills, one of which
would ensure that families receive school information while they are
applying for shelter.
At the hearing, Liza Pappas, an education policy analyst at the city’s
Independent Budget Office, plans to share data on how housing impacts
absentee rates. According to the budget office, 24 percent of permanently
housed students were chronically absent in the 2015-16 school year. For
students living in shelters, that number was 62 percent.
Homeless students nytimes 17-10-11.jpg
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