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Jonatan’s Story

Jonatan, an immigrant student from Guatemala, needed assistance enrolling in an appropriate high school.

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Who We Serve

Students in Temporary Housing

Students in Temporary Housing

Students who are living in a homeless shelter or other temporary housing arrangements have certain rights, including the right to remain in the school they were attending before they became homeless, the right to transportation to their school, and the right to enroll in the local school and attend classes immediately, even if they don't have the documents formally needed.

Through a grant from the New York State Education Department, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) runs the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS), which provides information, referrals, and training to parents, schools, school districts, social service providers, and others about the educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness throughout New York State. Our services include:

  • A toll-free infoline (1-800-388-2014) for questions about the educational rights of students in temporary housing;
  • Regional trainings, annual McKinney-Vento workshops, and free webinars on the education of students in temporary housing; and
  • Free posters, brochures, and guidebooks in multiple languages with information about the rights of students in temporary housing.

Please visit the NYS-TEACHS website for comprehensive information about the McKinney-Vento Act, resources for districts and families, data on students experiencing homelessness, and more.

You can also call the NYS-TEACHS Infoline at 1-800-388-2014 (toll-free).

Policy Work

AFC also conducts policy advocacy to increase school stability and expand support for students experiencing homelessness. Recent publications include:

Gaps in Social Workers for Students Living in Shelters [PDF]
This May 2018 report documents the number of New York City schools with high concentrations of students living in shelters that do not have a social worker focused on this population. AFC’s analysis shows that the Mayor's proposed modest increase in funding falls far short of meeting the need, and calls on the City to double the number of school social workers focused on serving students living in shelters.

Recommendations for Improving School Access and Success for Rising Numbers of Students in Temporary Housing [PDF]
In March 2018, Advocates for Children and Citizens' Committee for Children of New York jointly issued recommendations for expanding support for students experiencing homelessness. The recommendations include establishing high-level Department of Education leadership, expanding the Bridging the Gap school-based social worker program, and hiring DOE social workers to provide intensive supports at shelters to address education-related issues.