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AFC in the News

11.03.2023 | Gothamist | Under federal law, homeless students must have the option to remain in their schools if they choose to, even if they move shelters. 

But Jennifer Pringle of Advocates for Children said “this is often a right in name only.” 

“Between delays in arranging busing, a shortage of bus drivers, unreasonably long commute times, and other obstacles, parents often feel they have no choice but to uproot their children from schools they love when they move shelters,” she said. Read article

11.01.2023 | The New York Times | The numbers are swelling as the city grapples with a housing shortage and schools face intense financial pressures. The constraints have left some crucial services for homeless students in the system, the nation’s largest, increasingly under threat. 

“The situation is becoming more dire,” leaders at Advocates for Children of New York, the nonprofit that has collected the state data for more than a decade, warned in a news release. Read article

11.01.2023 | NY1 | “Students who are homeless in New York City could fill Barclays Center six times,” Randi Levine, policy director of Advocates for Children, said. 

It’s a record high, according to an analysis from Advocates for Children: 119,320 students experienced homelessness during the last school year. 

Of them, 40,840 stayed in shelters, 72,500 were doubled up — sharing someone else’s housing, and about 5,900 students lived in hotels, motels, or were unsheltered.

It’s an increase of 14% over the prior year. That growth has been fueled by the surge of migrants coming to the city — but schools were already serving a huge number of homeless students before their arrival.

“The last school year was the eighth consecutive year in which more than 100,000 New York City students experienced homelessness,” Levine said.

Every district served homeless children last year — but some saw more than others. In Bronx District 9, Brooklyn Districts 23 and 32, and Manhattan’s District 4, one in every five students was homeless last year.

“When we look at educational indicators, they are particularly abysmal for students living in shelter,” Levine said. “And that’s why we think it’s so important to make sure that the Department of Education has staff who are particularly looking out for students in shelter.”

The city hired 100 coordinators to work directly with families in shelter — but they’re now being stretched thin, and the funding used to hire them expires in less than a year. Meanwhile, more than 100 new shelters have opened without any public school staff to support them — even though the federal government has provided funding that can only be used for homeless students, and must be spent or returned by next October.

“That funding is available now. There’s a tremendous need right now. And the Department of Education actually has some temporary staff members who they’ve interviewed and are ready to start their work right now. But we’re seeing bureaucratic hurdles get in the way of the Department of Education getting that final green light,” Levine said. Watch video

11.01.2023 | Gothamist | Advocates worry the problem will worsen after Mayor Eric Adams’ recent decision to limit shelter stays for migrant families to 60 days. The policy shift means children will have to move during the school year, which will likely lengthen their commutes to their current schools, or cause them to switch schools. 

“While students who move to a new shelter placement have the right to stay in their original school, we know from our experience working with families that this is often a right in name only,” said Jennifer Pringle of Advocates for Children. “Between delays in arranging busing, a shortage of bus drivers, unreasonably long commute times, and other obstacles, parents often feel they have no choice but to uproot their children from schools they love when they move shelters.” Read article

11.01.2023 | City & State | A new report from Advocates for Children outlines causes of the 14% increase, including the ongoing migrant crisis. 

Roughly 1 in 9 public school students in New York City experienced homelessness last school year, according to new data released Wednesday – a staggering all-time high figure spurred forward in large part due to the ongoing arrival of thousands of asylum-seeking families. To put it in perspective, that’s more than enough children to fill Yankee stadium twice over. 

Of the over 119,000 students who were homeless during the 2022-23 academic year, 34% spent time living in city shelters, 61% were doubled up with other families, and 5% were unsheltered or living in cars or hotels, according to Advocates for Children of New York’s annual report on New York State Education Department records.That’s a 14% increase from the 2021-22 school year, although that year’s data was taken before the influx of new arrivals began enrolling in the system. Read article

11.01.2023 | Politico (Pro) | For the eighth year in a row, more than 100,000 New York City public school students were homeless, a new report found. 

A total 119,320 students — roughly one in nine children enrolled in schools — were homeless last school year, according to an analysis of state Education Department data by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York.

The city has surpassed 100,000 homeless pupils annually since the 2015-16 school year.

The latest figures represent a 14 percent increase from the previous school year, which saw more than 104,000 children without permanent housing despite a decline in public school enrollment. It’s also 4 percent higher than the previous peak: nearly 115,000 students in temporary housing during the 2017-18 school year.

The Department of Education hired 100 shelter-based community coordinators last year to help kids and families in shelter navigate the school system. But the education department is using $9 million in federal stimulus money for 75 of the coordinators (the other 25 are covered by city funding that expires in June). Read article

11.01.2023 | City Limits | Students experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity “face tremendous obstacles in school,” the report notes, including higher high school drop out rates and chronic absenteeism, according to AFC. 

“No child in New York City should be homeless, but until we reach that goal, access to a quality education is our best possible tool for ensuring those living in shelter don’t re-enter the system as adults,” Kim Sweet, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. Read article

11.01.2023 | Chalkbeat NY | The number of homeless students attending New York City schools reached a record high last year after thousands of asylum-seeking families entered the city’s shelter system, a new analysis shows. 

Roughly 1 in 9 students were living in shelters, “doubled up” with relatives or friends, or otherwise without permanent housing at some point in the school year, according to state data compiled by Advocates for Children, a group that supports the city’s most vulnerable students. 

The city’s population of homeless students was astronomical even before the recent influx, with the number of kids lacking permanent housing exceeding 100,000 for each of the past eight years – a stark indication of the city’s ongoing housing crisis. 

But the sudden arrival of thousands of families fleeing dire conditions in Latin America and other parts of the world pushed the figure to nearly 120,000 last school year — a 14% increase over the previous school year. It’s an all-time high, even as the city’s overall student enrollment has plummeted, according to Advocates for Children, which has been crunching this number annually for more than a decade. Read article

10.30.2023 | City Limits | Jennifer Pringle, a representative from Advocates for Children of New York, said she wants NYCPS to increase funds for shelter-based staff. 

“I can’t emphasize how critical those positions are to making sure that families connect with school and connect with the services that they need in school,” Pringle said. Read article

10.29.2023 | NY Daily News | To get shelter, parents will often have to pull their children out of school the day they apply. And while there is stated policy that the Department of Homeless Services should place families based on where the youngest child goes to school, Jennifer Pringle, who directs Advocates for Children’s students in temporary housing portfolio, said that does not apply to the migrant humanitarian relief centers run by NYC Health + Hospitals, nor track with what she is seeing on the ground. 

“Here you have schools that have invested in staffing and resources to support newcomer families, and have developed relationships with parents, with students,” said Pringle. “And now you’re going to have a revolving door. It just — it doesn’t make any sense.” Read article