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Advocates push NYC Education Dept. to hire more shelter-based staff to help homeless students get to school

04.28.2022 | Advocates want the city Education Department to hire 150 people to make sure students in homeless shelters get to school every day. 

Chronic absenteeism — defined as missing more than one in ten school days — is a big challenge citywide this year, and it’s more pronounced among students in homeless shelters. Last school year, 64% of students living in shelters were marked chronically absent, compared to 28% of their peers in permanent housing.

The money to hire workers in shelters would come from $33 million in federal stimulus funds, the advocates say. The workers, called community coordinators, would help homeless families with any school-based needs. The city has already committed to hiring 50 new community coordinators with federal cash, but advocates say that’s not enough, and are pushing the agency to use the remainder of the federal money to hire 100 more.

“With 60% of students living in shelter chronically absent from school, it is important to have someone on the ground in the shelter who can partner directly with families, determine why a particular child is missing school, and resolve the problem,” 30 advocacy organizations wrote in a letter Thursday to Mayor Adams and schools Chancellor David Banks.  Read article