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  • NYC could cut shelter-based education staff as migrant, homeless population surges

    Apr 4, 2024

    AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

    NY Daily News — A shelter program that connects migrant families and other homeless children to education services in New York City is in jeopardy, potentially hampering the ability for tens of thousands of students to get to school.

    Funding for 100 shelter-based coordinators — who find appropriate schools and programs for families, resolve barriers to attendance and organize busing — will end in June unless lawmakers take action, advocates warned in a new brief Thursday.

    “It is unthinkable that funding for shelter-based community coordinators is in jeopardy at a time of such tremendous need,” said Jennifer Pringle, director of students in temporary housing at Advocates for Children.

    The staffers “have provided students and families with life-changing support,” Pringle continued, “and the city urgently needs to identify a new funding source to ensure the continuity of their work.”

    More than 40,800 students spent at least some of last school year living in a shelter, up 39% from the year before as dozens of new emergency shelters for migrants cropped up across the city, according to the brief.

    While the coordinator’s role was created before the influx of migrant families, most positions were left vacant until the middle of last school year. Since then, staffers have helped mitigate enrollment delays and school disruptions from the city’s 60-day family shelter-limit policy. They organized donations, scheduled vaccine appointments and launched English classes for parents with a nearby elementary school.