NEW YORK — What's happening inside the halls of P.S. 446 in Brownsville, Brooklyn is hard to see on the faces or drawings that cover its walls, but go deeper, and there is a daily struggle, one that's real and very personal.
More than a quarter of the students are homeless.
"The history of the building is that there was a lot of instability in terms of families, instability for housing, and instability to have access to a good education was just par for the course," according to policy director for advocates for children Randi Levine.
In fact, according to a new report, there are more than 100,000 children homeless in New York Public Schools — that's about one out of every 10 students in New York City who either live in a homeless shelter or with relatives.
These homeless students need support, according to Levine.
"No child should be homeless in NYC. Not knowing in some cases where they're going to sleep the next night, where their next meal is going to come from, and these kids are bringing these tremendous challenges to school and schools need to be prepared with the resources and support to devote to these students," Levine said.
Child advocates say that homeless students struggle academically, and have high rates of absenteeism.
One possible reason? Because of where they may be living.
Many homeless children's families have to wake up very early, and travel across several boroughs so get to school, said Principal at P.S. 446 Meaghan Dunn.
The city is stepping up efforts on this crisis, increasing investments and coordination.
Consider the numbers: In 2016 the city earmarked about $10 million for homeless students. Last year, that number shot up to nearly $14 million, with the City Council investing another $2 million from its own budget.
This investment has allowed the city to hire additional social workers, but even with the increase, that's still about one social worker for roughly 1,600 homeless students in the system.
As those on the front lines struggle to find a solution, one thing is certain. This is a heartbreaking problem.
PIX11 Senior Executive Producer Ted winner contributed to this report.