NYC Council urges school staff in homeless shelters

The New York City Council is asking the Department of Education to hire 150 employees to work in homeless shelters and help students living there get to school.

“While the city must address the housing crisis so no child is left homeless, it also has an immediate responsibility to ensure students already living in shelters can go to school every day and receive the support they need to thrive.” to be and graduate,” Councilor Rita Joseph wrote in a Tuesday letter addressed to School Chancellor David Banks and obtained by The Post.

Joseph, who heads the city council’s education committee, was among more than 20 council members who signed the letter.

The push for DOE workers at homeless shelters comes after 30 organizations sent a memo to the Adams administration last week before a deadline for the state to submit plans for $33 million in federal funding for homeless students by the end of May received.

More than 100,000 public school students were homeless last school year — including a third who lived in shelters in New York City.

More than half of students living in shelters miss at least one day in 10 of school, according to data cited by Advocates for Children.

Councilor Rita Joseph,
Councilor Rita Joseph wants to provide more resources for homeless students.
Stefan Jeremiah for the New York Post

Council members and advocates said the requested staff could work to find out why a child may be absent from school and address the issue in real time.

“If the bus doesn’t come, staff could work with the DOE’s Student Transportation Office to resolve the issue,” proponents wrote in the memo to City Hall.

“If the child doesn’t have clean clothes for school, staff could connect the family to a laundry service; If a parent is unable to get a child to the bus due to competing duties and childcare responsibilities, staff could help devise a plan.”

Education officials reported that the DOE employs 117 shelter-based family assistants who help families with enrollment, transportation, and mentoring as they enter the shelter system.

New York School Chancellor David Banks
Chancellor of New York Schools David Banks addresses a news conference March 2, 2022.
Stephen Jeremiah

But council members said the shelters “currently don’t have enough staff focused on education,” citing low retention rates among staff, who typically make $28,000 and don’t work during the summer.

The DOE committed in February to hiring 50 community shelter coordinators, but advocates said they were still waiting for those job descriptions to be released.

“We want the DOE to start hiring immediately,” said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children.

Ministry officials did not respond to a request for comment on the status of this recruitment process. NYC Council urges school staff in homeless shelters


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