Today’s Read: New York City Had 114,000 Homeless Students Last Year – Coalition For The Homeless

(COALITION FOR THE HOMELESS) Jacquelyn Simone, November 1, 2019

One of every 10 New York City public school students was homeless during the 2018-2019 school year. New data released by Advocates for Children of New York show that 114,085 NYC students lived in shelters or doubled-up with family or friends, a number virtually unchanged since the prior year’s grim record. Homeless children often struggle to keep up with their stably housed classmates as they grapple with challenges such as long commutes to school and shelter transfers as well as too many missed school days. The constant stress of homelessness is also associated with greater behavioral and academic difficulties, which have lasting ramifications.

The Coalition operates programs specifically designed to support homeless children, and we host an annual Project: Back to School supply drive for the record number of homeless students. We also collaborated with Advocates for Children and others to successfully campaign for an increase in the number of “Bridging the Gap” school-based social workers and other supports for homeless students. At the same time, we continue to advocate for more permanent housing  so that families can move out of shelters and into homes of their own. Many homeless students have participated in the House Our Future NY campaign, which for nearly two years has urged Mayor de Blasio to align his housing plan with the reality of record homelessness by setting aside 30,000 apartments in his 300,000-unit Housing New York 2.0 plan for homeless New Yorkers, with 24,000 of those apartments to be created through new construction. Despite repeated calls from homeless children, along with a growing chorus of other concerned New Yorkers and dozens of elected officials, Mayor de Blasio has obstinately rejected this commonsense and feasible strategy to address the root cause of record homelessness.

Coalition for the Homeless Policy Director Giselle Routhier said the new report underscores the urgent need for more housing to combat homelessness: