NEW YORK (PIX11) — The 2021-2022 school year marked the seventh consecutive year in which more than 100,000 New York City public school students experienced homelessness, a report found.
Even as total enrollment in city schools fell last year, the number of students identified as homeless increased by 3.3%, rising from 101,000 to 104,000. Data released Wednesday by Advocates for Children of New York shows district 9 in the southwest Bronx has the highest rate of homelessness in the city, with one in five students experiencing homelessness.
In recent months, the total number of students in temporary housing has climbed even higher as an increasing number of families seeking asylum and come to New York. Advocates worry the shelter system is at its breaking point.
Startling statistics show 64 percent of students who experience homelessness suffer from chronic absenteeism, meaning they missed at least one out of every 10 school days.
In the last academic year, students in shelters dropped out of high school at more than three times the rate of their permanently housed peers; only 60% graduated in four years.
New York City has committed to hiring 100 shelter-based Department of Education Community Coordinators this year to help families navigate the school system, resolve barriers to regular attendance, and connect students in shelter with needed supports. However, a month and a half into the school year, at a time when the shelter system is at a breaking point, none of these staff have been hired, according to Advocates for Children.
The statement the Department of Education said, “Our Office of Community Supports and Wellness leads vital work in support of NYC Public Schools students with unique and significant needs, none of which will be disrupted while we navigate a period of transition. It is our on-going priority to provide our students, including students living in Foster Care, Temporary Housing, and Asylum Seekers living in shelters, with the supports and resources they need, when they need them. We are proud to staff a strong team of student and family-service providers across our districts wholly devoted to this work, including 350 staff dedicated to supporting students and families in temporary housing. We have already begun the hiring process for our 100 shelter-based community coordinators and we expect to start onboarding new hires soon.”