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Bed-Stuy, Brownsville Lead Brooklyn in Homeless Student Population: Study

By Camille Bautista | August 24, 2016 4:59pm
 Bedford-Stuyvesant's School District 16 and Brownsville's School District 23 had the highest percentage of homeless students in Brooklyn in 2014-15, a study found.
Bedford-Stuyvesant's School District 16 and Brownsville's School District 23 had the highest percentage of homeless students in Brooklyn in 2014-15, a study found.
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — School districts in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville had the greatest percentage of homeless students in the borough, according to a recent study.

Bed-Stuy’s School District 16 and Brownsville’s School District 23 both had a homeless student population of 15.2 percent in the 2014-15 academic year — the highest in Brooklyn — an August report from the Institute for Children, Poverty, & Homelessness shows.

In District 16, one out of five students experienced homelessness in the last five years, according to the analysis.

During the last school year, the district had 1,267 homeless students, of which 735 were living in a shelter, and 435 were living with another family or person due to loss of housing. Others lived unsheltered, in a hotel or motel outside of the city’s shelter system, or were awaiting foster care placement.

The study noted that homeless students may attend schools in districts where they do not live.

Homeless elementary students living in shelters had the highest rates of mid-year transfers and chronic absenteeism citywide, the study found.

The report also detailed the impact of homelessness on a child’s academic performance: those who were housed but experienced homelessness had lower rates of grade-level proficiency and higher rates of being held back compared to their low-income peers who never experienced homelessness.

News of the study was first reported by Kings County Politics.

In Ocean Hill and Brownsville’s District 23, one out of five students were homeless in the last five years.

The majority of them, or 1,069 students, lived in shelters, while 426 lived doubled-up with other families, according to the report.

Citywide, almost 20 percent of homeless students, or more than 15,000 children, attended just two school districts in the Bronx's Fordham and Highbridge neighborhoods.

“Students in temporary housing are among our most vulnerable populations, and we are dedicated to ensuring they receive the same equitable and excellent education as their permanently-housed peers,” said Toya Holness, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Education.

“By building school-based health clinics, creating after school programs, and hiring additional staff to provide ongoing supports and interventions, we are providing additional resources targeted at the schools serving the largest numbers of homeless students across the City."

The DOE received $30 million in funding this year to go toward programming and services for students in temporary housing, according to the agency.

Initiatives include the creation of a school-based attendance teacher to focus on supporting students in Department of Homeless Services cluster sites, and hiring attendance teachers to work directly in shelters.