Yoav Gonnen, Doug Montero and Jennifer Bain, ‘Shelter Student’ Crisis; Big homeless rise, N.Y. Post, Sept. 8, 2011, at 24:
The number of homeless students in city public schools has quadÂ-rupled since the economy tanked in 2008 — weighing down an already overburdened system with an additional 30,000 kids lacking permanent homes, The Post has learned.
The shocking Department of Education data put the number of kids without fixed shelter at 42,980 as of October 2010 — while state data show those numbers to be even higher.
The count was at 10,209 in October 2008.
Education officials said the numbers have skyrocketed not just because of the struggling economy, but also due to better reporting — which has resulted in increased federal funding — and better coordination with agencies like the Department of Homeless Services.
But some critics say the city’s policies are equally to blame for the dramatic spike.
“This speaks fundamentally to the failures of the administration’s approach to the problem of homelessness,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless.
“This administration has failed to recognize what 30 years of research and experience taught us — that it’s a housing-affordability problem.”
The DOE’s figures are required by federal law to count not just kids living in shelters, but those living in multiple-family households or motels, or awaiting placement in foster care.
The surge has walloped some schools more than others — with Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton HS in Bay Ridge and New Utrecht HS in Bensonhurst each seeing their populations of homeless kids more than double from 2009 to 2010 to about 250 students.
DOE officials said every school is responsible for creating a plan to address the needs of kids in temporary housing, and that they are each provided a liaison to help coordinate services from other agencies.
DHS officials said that, contrary to the reported school surge, they’ve seen the number of children living in city shelters flatline since 2008.