NEW YORK - More than 100,000 students in the New York City public school system are homeless. That alone is considered a crisis. On top of that, nearly three-quarters of those children are chronically absent from school, a report says.
Advocates for Children of New York project director Jennifer Pringle said the city needs to urgently address this "huge problem" if it wants to break the cycle of homelessness.
"We know that kids who don't graduate from high school are three and a half times more at risk of experiencing homelessness as young adults," Pringle said.
A report from the nonprofit said 64% of students living in shelters were chronically absent from school last year. That means they missed more than 10% of the school year. One of the primary reasons the students miss school is a long commute.
"40% of kids in shelter are placed in a shelter far away from their schools," Pringle said, "in a different borough from where their school is."
Reporter Reema Amin of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit education news website, profiled a homeless mother and her two daughters in elementary and middle school.
"They would start the day at 6:30 a.m.," Amin said. "From there, they would take two trains and two buses in Queens to get to the school they attended."
With the commute back home, the children have 12-hour days.
The city has hired about 40 Department of Education community coordinators who are working in shelters to help students get to school. The city plans to hire about 60 more.
"We're urging the city to get those folks in those jobs as quickly as possible so they can start supporting families," Pringle said.