In New York City, nearly 1 in 10 students lived in some sort of temporary housing or were unsheltered in the past school year – this is more than 104,000 students that faced homelessness. The number of students experiencing homelessness in New York City has been steadily over 100,000 for seven years, making this a problem that the city is grappling to remedy. The number of students experiencing homelessness in New York City alone surpasses the amount of children in the entire school system in some smaller cities, with Queens leading the way with a 12% rise in homelessness among students.
Especially in recent years with the COVID-19 pandemic, the rates of attendance for school students experiencing homelessness have gone down, as have the rates of enrollment. During the pandemic, children without reliable housing raced through a unique set of issues that had not been present when school was on a normal schedule, such as losing the shelter and stability that in-person school provided. In addition to this, however, many students faced problems with finding a stable location that would provide them with reliable internet to work on their schoolwork. Students that struggled with housing had attendance rates about 10 percent lower than their peers.
A new influx of students immigrating mostly from Central and South America also face challenges in the City. Of 6,000 new students experiencing homelessness, 5,500 are migrant students. With many of these families dealing with housing issues, many also struggle to get a good education. Some of the children do not speak English, and it can be a struggle to find instruction that they will even understand.
The City hopes to help these children through education. A task force is planning to speak with the school chancellor about a change in distributing funds to schools, hoping to get more funding to children facing homelessness and other groups of kids that are underserved. A first step in the right direction, the chancellor has agreed to hire more workers to help children in shelters get to school more often.