More than 21,000 Queens students experienced homelessness at some point during the most recent school year, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced kids to complete their classwork remotely, according to an annual report published Tuesday by the organization Advocates for Children of New York.
Overall, more than 111,000 students — roughly 85 percent of whom were Black or Latino — experienced homelessness across New York City during the 2019-2020 school year. That’s roughly one in 10 students citywide and the fifth consecutive year that more than 100,000 New York City schoolchildren experienced homelessness, the organization said.
The persistent crisis of child homelessness coincides with the dual public health and economic impacts of COVID-19, which have put even more families at risk of eviction and displacement, said AFC Executive Director Kim Sweet
“If these children comprised their own city, it would be larger than Albany, and their numbers may skyrocket even further after the state eviction moratorium is lifted,” Sweet said. “The city must act now to put more support in place for students who are homeless.”
AFC analyzed state Department of Education enrollment data to identify the number of public and charter school students who experienced homelessness. There were 21,266 such students in Queens’ seven school districts last school year, the data reveals.
Homelessness doesn’t mean that a student slept in a car or shelter — though nearly 4,000 did in Queens, AFC found. Advocates and researchers consider a family to be experiencing homelessness if they live “doubled up,” meaning they do not have a permanent address where their names appear on a lease or contract and they can be evicted at any time with no rights to the location.
About 77 percent of the students who experienced homelessness in Queens were living “doubled up.”
This is why de Blasio is adamant about in person learning. Even while the COVID-19 case levels is currently 2% higher than the initial threshold for school closings.