Over 114,000 Students are Homeless in New York City

Student homelessness is at an all-time high in New York City.

Statistics from the Advocates for Children of New York show that 114,659 students in New York public schools are homeless. The study further says that one in 10 students stay in shelters for the homeless in New York City. Those who do not stay in homeless shelters live with relatives away from their schools, the New York Times reports. This situation has created serious problems for young city students, the public school system, and the state government administration.

From 2015 to 2017 the number of students living in shelters for the homeless exceeded 100,000. Mayor Bill de Blasio has not succeeded at reducing the number of homeless students attending public schools. Unfortunately, government funding and philanthropic support for these vulnerable children have not risen in accordance with the growth of homelessness, as the New York Times’ article stated.

In 2010 New York City had 69,244 homeless children attending public schools. This number grew steadily and reached 114,659 last spring, a worrisome rise within the past eight years. This figure signifies that the number of homeless students in New York City far exceeds the entire population of Albany, the state capital of New York. Up to 1.1 million students attend public schools in New York City.

To compound the problem, shelters for the homeless are now at capacity, so people sleep in the streets and on subways. Last year, about 38,000 students occupied shelters while others lived with relatives and friends. Many families are now hard put to secure permanent housing. Unfortunately, the problem of student homelessness is not going away soon, said Randi Levine, policy director for Advocates for Children in New York.

New York City Struggles to Address Homeless Student Problem

There are 1,800 schools in New York, with 144 of them increasingly dealing with the homeless child situation in the past four years. Students with housing issues often suffer poor academic performance. To see this in proper perspective, only 12 percent of students living in shelters passed mathematics and 15 percent passed English in the 2015–16 school year.

In addition to poor academic performance, students with housing problems are typically tardy or often absent from school. This is not unrelated to the challenges of reaching school from their temporary housing. Considering the difficulty of reaching school in time, many of these students give up going to school for days on end, increasing the rate of school absenteeism. In a similar scenario, many students travel through three or four boroughs from their shelters or relatives’ homes to reach school.

The paucity of social workers has not helped matters either. The New York Times reports that roughly one social worker is available for every 1,660 homeless students.

New York City schools chancellor Richard A. Carranza expressed concern over the homelessness problem and said he appointed Chris Caruso, to oversee the Department of Education’s office of students in temporary housing and devoted $16 million to target the schools with the highest homelessness rate with more social workers.