‘More has to be done’: Over 100,000 NYC public school students reported as homeless for sixth-straight year

Lonely teenage boy sitting on curb next to high school.
Photo via Getty Images

Over 101,000 New York City public school students were homeless last school year representing a 42% increase since 2010, data compiled by education advocates shows. 

Last year was the sixth year in a row that the number of New York City public school students experiencing homelessness has been more than 100,000, according to the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York, which releases an annual report on the number of students experiencing housing insecurity. 

This year’s report found that while most students continued to learn remotely after schools were forced to shutter during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 28,000 public school students did so while living in a city shelter and another 65,000 did so while living “doubled-up” with friends or family. 

In addition, the report shows that an extra 3,860 students were unsheltered last year and instead lived in cars, parks, or abandoned buildings.

“No child should be homeless, but while Mayor-elect Adams’ administration makes plans to tackle New York City’s housing and homelessness crisis, they must meet the immediate, daily educational needs of students who are homeless,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children.

AFC’s number represents a slight drop from the reported number of students who experienced homelessness during the 2019-20 school year by 9% but that decrease could also be the result of fewer children enrolling in the public school system. Since the pandemic started, New York City public schools have lost over 50,000 students, DOE data shows. 

When asked by reporters Monday to respond to the report, Mayor Bill de Blasio said “some real important work has been done” in terms of squashing homelessness in the city but that “more has to be done.”

“The goal is to constantly get families to permanent affordable housing,” said de Blasio.”We’ve got a lot more to do and to really support kids in shelter.”

As a result of the report’s findings, AFC along with 40 other children’s advocacy groups are calling on incoming mayor Eric Adams to overall educational support systems in city homeless shelters and to hire 150 shelter-based DOE Community Coordinators to help connect homeless families with educational support. 

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