Record number of homeless children attend NYC schools this year

One in 10 NYC public school students was homeless during the school year that ended in June, representing a 6% increase over the 2015-2016 school year, new statistics show.

111,562 homeless students attended city schools in the 2016-17 year, up from 105,445 in the 2015-16 school year and is an all-time record, according to data provided Tuesday by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students. The center is a project of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York. The rise in homelessness has slowed since the previous year’s, when the total grew by 22%, from 86,694, in the 2014-15 school year.

“The city has taken some considerable steps to assist students living in shelters, but these numbers show that further action is needed. The city should ensure that there is high-level leadership on this issue.” said Randi Levine, policy coordinator for Advocates for Children.

The public schools’ new total includes kids in charter schools and is more than double the pre-recession 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. Roughly 1.1 million students are enrolled the New York City public schools.

“Across the board, the outcomes are much more challenging than for students who are not experiencing homelessness. Simply the act of losing your home is a trauma that these kids are experiencing.” Liz Cohen, chief of staff for the nonprofit Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

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.

“DHS and DOE 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.

A 2017 study the institute published found domestic violence and evictions were frequently cited as factors contributing to homelessness by people in shelters.