School can be a tough place for kids these days, and for thousands of New York City public school students that stress is compounded by the fact that many are dealing with homelessness.
According to an analysis by the city’s Independent Budget Office, the number of homeless kids enrolled in city schools last year rose by 15 percent from 2013-2014, the New York Post reported. There were also roughly 33,000 kids who spent at least some time at a shelter enrolled in city public schools last year, up 4,000 from the prior year. New York is the largest school district in the United States with more than 1.1 million students, 27 percent of them are Black.
Out of the city’s five boroughs, the Bronx had the most homeless enrollees, with 13,729. Brooklyn was second, with 9,223, followed by Manhattan, with 4,909, Queens, with 3,971, and Staten Island, with 971, the report shows.
The report also highlighted the clustering of homeless children in a relatively small percentage of city public schools. Out of 1,475, school campuses, just 155 — or 10.5 percent — had a homeless population of more than 10 percent of the total student body. Though those numbers appear relatively low, the IBO found that the number of city schools with that concentration of homeless students is up from 61 in 2011-2012, and stated the cause could be due to Mayor de Blasio’s plans for homeless relocation.
The IBO report clams that that Mayor de Blasio’s vision for the wholesale relocation of homeless families out of scattered, low-density spaces and into large new complexes would either hurt or help these concentrations.
“The Mayor’s recent initiative to move families out of hotels and cluster sites and into newly created shelters close to their prior communities may add to the concentration in some schools and reduce it at others,” the report stated.
The city’s homeless-student population has been on a steady incline across the board since 2011-2012, when Mayor Mike Bloomberg was still in office. That year, there were a total of 24,531 shelter-bound kids in city schools. That figure has increased by nearly 10,000 kids since then.
In school year 2015-2016, The Bronx enrolled more than 40 percent of students in the shelter system. That represents a 44 percent increase in from 2011-2012. The number of homeless kids in Brooklyn schools rose by 18 percent over that period. The increase over that span was 21 percent in Manhattan and 50 percent in Queens.
The Department of Education is currently working on trying to combat the increasing problem using $10 million in funding and the assistance of numerous support programs, according to spokeswoman Toya Holness.