Dear Commons Community,
A record 111,562 homeless students attended New York City public schools in the 2016-17 year, up from 105,445 in the 2015-16 school year, according to data supplied by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students. This number represents approximately 10% of the total public school population of 1.1 million students. As reported by the New York Daily News:
“The city has taken some considerable steps to assist students living in shelters, but these numbers show that further action is needed,” said Randi Levine, policy coordinator for Advocates for Children.
“The city should ensure that there is high-level leadership on this issue,” she said.
The city schools’ new total includes kids in charter schools and is more than double the prerecession homeless student population of 50,926 for the 2007-08 school year.
The figure includes kids living in shelters, those living doubled up with family members and those in other temporary housing arrangements.
Statistics show students who experience homelessness at some point in their lives are more likely to transfer schools and miss class. They are also less likely to graduate from high school on time and meet grade-level standards for reading and math.
Liz Cohen, chief of staff for the nonprofit Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, said homeless students face a number of difficulties in school.
“Across the board, the outcomes are much more challenging than for students who are not experiencing homelessness,” Cohen said. “Simply the act of losing your home is a trauma that these kids are experiencing.”
A 2017 study the institute published found domestic violence and evictions were frequently cited as factors contributing to homelessness by people in shelters.
A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio said the city departments of Homeless Services and Education are working together to better support homeless students.
The two departments “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,” spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said.”
This is a sad and staggering situation and as the data indicate, getting worse!