New York City, NY

So far this school year, NYC homeless students' attendance has decreased significantly

A study found that over a quarter of New York City's homeless children have been absent from school this year.Getty Images

In the first few weeks of the new academic year, more than a quarter of city youngsters living in shelters were missing from school, according to new research.

As the COVID-19 epidemic has progressed, Advocates for Children of New York has discovered that attendance has fallen to only 73% and absenteeism among homeless children has progressively increased.

The DOE said on Monday that the percentage has risen to 78 percent since then.

So far this school year, all city kids have been in class almost 90% of the time.

ACNY has urged the Department of Education to provide additional federal money to reverse the troubling trend, citing the sobering statistics.

With such dismal attendance numbers, the DOE's existing shelter-based support system is insufficient. That's according to AFC's Learners in Temporary Housing Project Director Jennifer Pringle. "Students in the City's shelters require committed, well-trained personnel who can help them reconnect with the school and receive the educational assistance they need to get back on track."

An estimated 30,000 children live in homeless shelters each year, according to ACNY.

Attendance for homeless students was at 82% in the 2018-2019 academic year and then climbed slightly to 83% in 2019-2020 before several schools were forced to close.

According to an ACNY study of shelter children's attendance from January to June of 2021, that number never dipped below 80%.

According to the group, 94% of children in shelters are of African- and Hispanic origin.
Absenteeism from homeless students has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Advocates for Children of New York.Getty Images

According to ACNY, absenteeism increased in high school among kids living in shelters.

It was estimated that in the winter and spring of 2021, homeless 10th graders missed one out of every three school days.

To assist kids to go to school every day, ACNY requested that the DOE employ 150 staff members to "work on the ground in the City's shelters."

The organization said that it will look for more financing to achieve this goal.

We have nearly quadrupled to over 300 the number of committed staff members working in schools and shelters over the last two years to support children and families impacted by homelessness," said DOE spokesman Nathaniel Styer. Our efforts with partner agencies and others on how federal monies are used will not stop.

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