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City Hall must do more to curb homeless students

Bronx Times
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The number of homeless New York City students is absolutely appalling and should bring shame upon the de Blasio administration for doing next to nothing to solve this crisis.

More than 114,000 youngsters were identified as homeless during the 2018-19 school year, according to state Education Department statistics studied by Advocates for Children in New York City.

To show that there has been no concerted effort to address the issue there is this shocking statistic.The data shows that the number of students identified as homeless has topped 100,000 for the fourth consecutive years.

This includes public and charter school students and the report further shows that the number has steadily increased by more than 70 percent over the last decade.

“This problem is immense. The number of New York City students who experienced homelessness last year — 85 percent of whom are black or Hispanic — could fill the Barclays Center six times,” Advocate for Children Executive Director Kim Sweet said. “The city won’t be able to break the cycle of homelessness until we address the dismal educational outcomes for students who are homeless.”

For these students, homelessness and educational outcomes are inexorably tied. Fewer than a third of New York City students who are homeless are reading proficiently, rates that are 20 percentage points lower than their permanently housed peers.

Only 57 percent of all New York City students who are homeless graduate from high school and for those living in shelters, the outcomes are even more stark — fewer than half graduate from high school.

National research from Chapin Hall’s Voice for Youth Count has shown that the lack of a high school diploma is the single greatest risk factor for homelessness among young adults, putting youth without a diploma at 4.5 times the risk of experiencing homelessness as adults compared to their peers who completed high school.

City Hall has taken some positive steps including placing 100 ‘Bridging the Gap’ social workers and more than 100 community coordinators in schools with high numbers of students who are homeless, offering yellow bus service the kindergarten through sixth grade students living in shelter, increasing pre-K enrollment among children living in shelter, and providing after-school reading programs at certain shelters.

More has to be done or the shame will continue to haunt the de Blasio administration.

Posted 10:44 am, November 1, 2019
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