At NYC public schools, number of homeless students rising, report says

The number of public school students living in homeless shelters rose by more than 4,000 last year from the year before, a report released Monday shows.

There were nearly 33,000 students living in shelters in the 2015-2016 school year, according to the report by the NYC Independent Budget Office. That’s a 15 percent increase from the prior year, when about 28,500 students were living in shelters. The report shows an increase every year since 2011-2012.

The Bronx has enrolled the most homeless students, the report shows. More than 40 percent, or about 13,700 of the students, attended schools in the Bronx in 2015-2016.

“Many students living in shelters are concentrated in a relatively small number of the city’s schools,” the report says.

At the vast majority of the 1,475 public schools, 10 percent or less of the students have lived in shelters in the past five years. At 45 schools, 10 percent or more of the students were homeless for the past five years, and at 179 schools, 10 percent of more of the students have lived in shelters for at least one of the past five years.

The city allotted $10.3 million last year and again this year to help schools support homeless students.

With that funding, the Department of Education is hiring social workers for every elementary school with more than 25 students living in shelters and implementing other initiatives.

“Students in shelter are among our most vulnerable populations,” DOE spokeswoman Toya Holness said. “With the renewed funding of $10.3 million, we are hiring more social workers through the Bridging the Gap initiative, expanding Afterschool Reading Club, providing admissions supports to improve participation rates, and offering more school-based health services.”