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See How the City's Homelessness Crisis Affects Your School

By Amy Zimmer | February 16, 2017 11:12am

MANHATTAN — If New York City's homeless schoolchildren had their own district, it would almost be bigger than Boston's and Seattle's combined, according to the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness.

One of every eight New York City public school students has experienced homelessness or housing instability in the past five school years, according to an analysis of 2014-15 data by the Institute which released an interactive map Wednesday providing school-by-school data on homeless attendees.


The nonprofit hopes the tool will help educators, service providers and policy makers reach informed decisions to ease the growing crisis.

Figures show 105,445 children in grades K-12 were homeless or lived in temporary housing, perhaps doubled up with relatives or friends, during the last school year. That's up from 82,000 the year before.

The number of combined school seats in Boston and Seattle is roughly 107,000.

“Homelessness disproportionately impacts children,” Jennifer Erb-Downward, a policy analyst at the institute, said in a statement.

"Data about student homelessness and how to improve educational outcomes is of critical importance — particularly in New York City where over 100,000 school age children were homeless in [school year] 2015–16.”

Homeless elementary school students living in shelters, for instance, were chronically absent and had high rates of mid-year transfers with about 40 percent leaving school during the year, the institute found in a previous report.

Students who had experienced homelessness also had lower rates of meeting their grade’s proficiency standards.

The Highbridge section of The Bronx in District 9 had the highest proportion of homeless students in the 2014-2015 school year, with P.S./M.S. 4 Crotona Park West having 47 percent of its attendees affected.

District 9 along with District 10, which incudes the Fordham section of The Bronx, had nearly 20 percent of all of the city’s homeless students.

At P.S. 15 Roberto Clemente on East Fourth Street in the East Village — which had among the highest percentage of homeless students with more than 46 percent — it’s all hands on deck when it comes to tackling absenteeism, principal Irene Sanchez previously told DNAinfo.

There are several free washing machines that parents can use, and the parent coordinator will also clean children's outfits during the school day while they borrow clean clothes.

Students attending that community school — which offers additional health and social services — can get their teeth cleaned and their vision tested. P.S. 15 also has social workers on hand each morning to help children with attachment issues ease into the day.

The city earmarked nearly $30 million in fiscal year 2017 to support students in temporary housing with such projects as building new school-based health centers at up to 13 elementary school campuses that have at least one school with more than 50 students living in shelters.

The Department of Education in December launched an after-school reading club pilot program to boost literacy for elementary school kids living in shelters, and it began offering bus service last year to students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live in shelters, servicing kids at more than 750 schools.