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New York City schools report record high number of homeless students

Nov. 2, 2023
The nation's largest district says more than 119,000 of its students were homeless in 2022-23.

The number of homeless public school students in New York City reached an all-time high of 119,320 in 2022-23 as migrants crossing the southern border continued to flock to the city.

The New York Times reports that the homeless numbers in the nation's largest school district are swelling as the city struggles with a housing shortage.

“The situation is becoming more dire,” say leaders at Advocates for Children of New York, the nonprofit that has collected the state data on homeless students for more than a decade.

About 1 in 9 New York City students are homeless. Migrant children have made up most of the increase. Several school leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, say the system is not doing enough to support the homeless students.

The previous record for the number of homeless students in the city was 114,600 in the 2017-18.

The city has about 1,700 bilingual teachers who are fluent in Spanish, and recently loosened teacher tenure rules in an effort to increase their ranks. Some schools with few bilingual educators have relied on Google Translate to rework lessons and field questions.

Some educators believe a mental health crisis for migrant children — many of whom made dangerous journeys to get here and now face social isolation — is looming. They worry that school personnel remain unequipped to tackle trauma. 

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