The Advocates for Children of New York, which is a non-profit that covers the greater New York City region, has just reported that about 10% of the students in public schools do not have a permanent home. This means they could be living in a shelter, transitional housing unit, with family or friends, or really do not have a place of their own.
The 2018 number of 10%, or 114,000 students without a permanent home is also a record high. In fact, it has increased about 70% from 2010, when “only” 69,000 students were considered to be homeless. So the trend is obviously going in the wrong direction. Of the 114,000 who lack a permanent home, about 38,000 of those students are in a homeless shelter.
I just read this article in the NY Times which referenced the report. This is obviously a sad, unfortunate statistic. On a personal level, I strongly dislike instances when children in effect “suffer” due to a hardship of their parents. While there could be countless reasons for students to be in effect homeless, it is definitely impacting their education.
Some of the reasons for this situation can include, but are not limited too the high cost of housing in NYC; a married (or unmarried) couple irresponsibility having children they can’t comfortable afford and there are countless examples of people having kids they can’t afford; single moms, in which about 40% of their kids live in poverty; a short term financial hardship; and many other reasons.
Impact to NYC students
They vary and of course will be significant. Schools in NYC report that some guidance counselors offices are serving as quasi social service centers for the student and parent(s). Students without a home are also missing on average 30 days of school per year, which is about 3 times as high as other students according to 2018 school data. There are also a number of students that need to travel 2 or more boroughs to get to their school, which obviously impacts their sleep times.
The lack of a permanent home or apartment is impacting the child’s education, which is so critical to have in today’s economy. The fact is people without a high school degree have almost no chance to earn a living in the future, and in fact so many decent or high paying jobs also require a some form of higher degree, whether a college degree or apprenticeship or technical training. Even those for students who may be interested in starting a business or participating in other employment opportunities (such as apprenticeships), they will also will find the path much easier with a proper education. Therefore the lack of a stable school to attend will reduce their chances to hit those educational goals.
Sometimes I think we at needhelppayingbills.com do not make much a difference, but several days before this NY times article (as well as the latest 2018 Advocates for Children of New York data) we received an email from a single mom in the city who was on the verge of eviction/homelessness. We directed her to some NYC rent programs, and she is fairly confident she will be able to get rent help from the One Shot deal in NYC, and she was not aware of that rent assistance program prior to reading it on our site. So maybe in that case we prevented one more student from going homeless.
We do get positive emails from users on this site. We also get negative ones and also emails from people who think they are entitled to all this free stuff, money, and really everything without working for it. But we do feel confident that over the years we have assisted countless families, kids, and students so that they could find food, housing, prescription drug cards, Christmas toys, or whatever help they need. Heck, even that one example from the NYC mom who was on the verge of eviction, and had a kid (student) was great to read. That does make a feel good, and help remind us we can and do make a difference.