Chancellor Carranza Announces Additional Supports for Students in Temporary Housing

  • Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018

Additional $12 million investment brings total investment in targeted programs for students in temporary housing to $28 million

NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced additional support for students in temporary housing (STH), including approximately 100 school-based STH community coordinators, an improved structure for overseeing STH resources, and expanded professional development to staff supporting STH. The $12 million targeted investment builds on $16 million in current support and brings annual total investment in these programs to $28 million.

Students in temporary housing are defined as students experiencing housing instability at any point, for any length of time, during the school year, and includes the following experiences of housing instability: "doubled up" (sharing the housing of others), in hotel/motel, or in other temporary housing, a subset of which includes NYC Department of Social Services shelter. There were approximately 105,000 New York City district school students who resided in temporary housing during the 2017-18 school year, with the vast majority of them residing in doubled up living arrangements. Approximately 15,000 of those 105,000 students are residing in the DHS shelter system on any given night. The DOE works in close partnership with DSS to provide streamlined support for students in shelter throughout each day.

“As a school system, our work is defined by how we advance equity and meet the needs of all our students,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “It is a key priority to invest in – and serve – our students and families in temporary housing, and we’re taking a real step forward today. When our systems and structures are clearly aligned and we give schools the capacity to effectively support their students, we see the greatest outcomes.”

“All New York City children deserve access to high-quality education—and for families experiencing homelessness or living in temporary housing, that means preserving as much stability as possible during challenging times,” said Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This increased investment from the Department of Education will help provide additional support to families experiencing housing instability, including the subset of those students that are experiencing homelessness and residing in shelter, in order to re-stabilize their lives. Our comprehensive borough-based plan is designed to connect as many of those students as possible back to their home boroughs and support networks as they get back on their feet, including bringing them closer to schools—and we’re making progress in the right direction.”  

“Homelessness is a major crisis in this city, and it is heartbreaking and unacceptable this is affecting 1 in 10 New York City students. The Council will continue to do everything possible to help our kids, and that includes homeless students. The Council is proud to have advocated for ‘Bridging the Gap’ and proud to have called for housing, additional funding and more social services to support young homeless New Yorkers,” said Corey Johnson, Speaker of the New York City Council. “Students should focus on their homework and not worry about where they have to sleep that night. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza for their commitment to our kids, and I would like to especially thank Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger and General Welfare Committee Chair Stephen Levin for their partnership and advocacy on this issue.”

The new $12 million investment builds on an existing $16 million investment including 69 “Bridging the Gap” social workers and the Afterschool Reading Club reading enrichment and homework help program at shelters. It also builds on the new School Proximity Project, through which the DOE and Department of Social Services work together to offer homeless New Yorkers the opportunity to be sheltered closer to their youngest child's school. To date, DSS has successfully placed 200 families closer to their schools, and this work is ongoing.

The $12 million investment includes:

Hiring approximately 100 school-based STH Community Coordinators who will provide support to students in temporary housing and families.

The STH Community Coordinators will serve a similar function to Community School Directors, and closely support all students in temporary housing in their school. Their role will include:

  • Streamlining school-based services ranging from guidance counselors and social workers to yellow bus service
  • Connecting families to DHS services, case-workers and DOE shelter-based Family Assistants to enhance coordination between schools and shelters
  • Identifying local community resources and developing new partnerships that are aligned with school goals and needs (e.g. food pantries, housing services, health clinics, etc.)
  • Participating in the school’s attendance team meetings to build data-driven strategies to support chronically absent students in temporary housing

Schools will be identified based on the number of students experiencing homelessness in the 2017-18 school year, including the number of students in shelter. The coordinators will be placed this school year. Schools that are not currently Community Schools or do not have a Single Shepherd will be prioritized.

Strengthening the leadership and organization overseeing STH resources at a school, shelter and Citywide level. 

The DOE is realigning the role of our 12 STH content experts to serve as borough-based STH Regional Managers aligned with our Field Support Centers. They will oversee school-based and shelter-based supports for their area and lead a team of 15-20 staff members – including shelter-based Family Assistants and school-based Bridging the Gap social workers and STH Coordinators to:

  • Implement and coordinate services at a school, shelter and Citywide level
  • Monitor metrics including attendance and suspensions to deploy targeted interventions and ensure that STH are receiving services and support they need
  • Enhance relationships with other City agencies to better support families through efforts like DSS’s School Proximity Project, which places families in shelter closer to their school

The DOE plans to hire additional STH Regional Managers this year.

Expanding professional development opportunities for DOE staff in collaboration with non-profits and social services agencies.

 Professional development for STH Coordinators, shelter-based Family Assistants and school-based staff will focus on trauma-informed practices, data-driven decision making and resource coordination for effectively serving students in temporary housing and their families.

The DOE is leveraging Title IV funds through New York State’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in order to add the new support.

Under the newly created Division of School Climate and Wellness, STH are supported by the Office of Community Schools (OCS) which works to advance new strategies and resources to meet the needs of the whole child and family. OCS focuses on building partnerships and integrating health, youth development, and family engagement into the fabric of schools. Since 2014, Community Schools have reduced chronic absenteeism by 8.3 percentage points compared to a citywide decrease of 0.1 percentage points, and have increased graduation rates by 11.3 percentage points compared to a citywide decrease of 5.8 percentage points. Citywide STH chronic absenteeism has reduced 1.5 percentage points in that timeframe.

“We’re increasing our ability to provide wraparound services that support the whole child in schools where it matters the most,” said LaShawn Robinson, Deputy Chancellor for the Division of School Climate and Wellness. “We need to deepen our ties to our most vulnerable students, and ensure those connections run clearly from shelters, to schools all the way up to Citywide staff members. These increased investments will allow us to do that work.”

“We’re taking an innovative and comprehensive approach to supporting children and their families who face unique challenges,” said Chris Caruso, Senior Executive Director, Office of Community Schools. “By building on lessons learned in our Community Schools and focusing on coordination of services we will amplify existing supports such as K-6 busing for students in shelter and additional social workers and will make meaningful strides in the academic and social-emotional success of our students.”

“This additional support shows that the new Chancellor is taking the needs of students in temporary housing seriously,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director, Advocates for Children of New York. “We look forward to working with the Administration to further build upon these resources.”

In 2016-17, the City earmarked $10.3 million in targeted programs for students in temporary housing, and increased spending to $16 million for the 2018-19 school year. The new investments announced today build upon existing programs for the 2018-19 school year:

  • “Bridging the Gap” program includes 69 social workers at 43 elementary schools with high STH populations this year.
  • Double the number of Afterschool Reading Clubs, which provide reading enrichment and homework help three days a week to students in grades K-5 at DHS shelters.
  • School admissions support in shelters and school-based health services at schools with high STH populations.

Today, the DOE submitted the first Students in Temporary Housing report to the City Council. The report is available here.

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Contact:  Chancellor’s Press Office (212) 374-5141

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