More Than 104,000 New York City Students Were Homeless Last Year

Oct 26, 2022 · 82 comments
Gordon (Baltimore)
This is a national problem. If you are not pressuring your political representives who in DC are all millionaires, then complaining will not solve the problem.
Bello Giorno (Charlottesville, VA)
Heartbreaking that we have so many homeless children. America, where did you go?
ADE (MNH/SAV)
According to to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as of January 2020, New York had 91,271 homeless. But the NYT tells me there's more than 104,000 homeless children. Something not squaring here ...
gracea (New York, NY)
@ADE they must be using different definitions. this definition includes those “doubling up with other families” so crowded housing that may not count as homeless according to the HUD
ABC (Flushing)
What if USA had actual borders like other countries? How about Americans first — Not Last? Our immigration laws are an international joke
CAM (Seattle)
@ABC you might want to note that we are headed into a huge labor shortage so it would behoove us all to have comprehensive immigration reform.
Ineeda (Mann)
How sad that parents cannot provide for their children.
Geo (USA)
This homelessness reflects the lack of compassion on the part of wealthy New Yorkers.
Kurtster (Canada)
Totally agree! Between the owners of the New York Rangers, The NY Giants, The New York Yankees, the New York Jets, the New York Mets, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets this problem could be made to go away FOREVER and never come back! And, they could still have money left over to pay their cheerleaders a real wage, and still make it look like it was all their idea! Forget about the Wall Street Masters of the Universe, as a group they couldn't care less about NYC...its all about the money.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@Kurtster i recall a nyt article rent controlled apt house torn down. what happened to the tenants who had lived there for many years. replaced by...russian oligarch paid 275 mill, a record at the time, for an apt which he might occupy 5 weeks a yr. another article had a realtor express surprise that the lookers planned to live there as most apts were investments by foreigners w2ho never lived there or meant to
Ashook Ramsaran (Fresh Meadows, New York)
What a terrible shame on society that the needs of desperate children (and their parents) are so neglected.
Roxanne (🌎)
.. and yet NYC can house illegal immigrants so fast. The poor and inadequate responses to caring for students who are homeless certainly did not begin with this administration. Sadly, it will not end with it. You cannot truly be a 'sanctuary city' if you cannot even offer temporary and habitable housing for current citizens/residents. Slogans don't house people.
Kathy (SF)
We could afford to help them. Go after the billions of stolen pandemic relief funds. Punish criminals, help children - who can't help themselves! Remember being that vulnerable? We have the money. Much of it has been stolen.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@Kathy tax churches some of which like the catholic church got pandemic relief funds for priests wages
Ck smithson (bethany beach DE)
I cannot believe how cruel NYC is to children…this is a huge crisis! Nowhere else in the country is this happening. I wonder how many are crime victims in this crisis too? Awful.
CAM (Seattle)
@Ck smithson it’s happening all over the US. We can’t seem to build our way out of the homeless situation and many people who work a 40 hr per week middle class job can’t afford rents as well.
ABC (Flushing)
Open borders but NIMBY. “Give me your tired, your poor…” is what liberals SAY (quoting the Statue of Liberty) “Give SOMEONE ELSE …” is What liberals MEAN
Arizona slim (Queens)
Well Mr Mayor!!?? Is your swagger up to handling the plight of these children?? Homelessness was a significant problem prior to your election and has since been exacerbated. You have done absolutely NOTHING but show up for photo ops.
Chevy (South Hadley, MA)
Yet immigration advocates insist that we need more people in this country, need to keep the gate open so that anyone who doesn't like and isn't willing to fight for their own country can just walk over an international border. This is exactly where things are heading: illegal immigrants and their children will compete for the increasingly scarce resources that belong to American citizens, families - especially Black ones that matter? - who have been here for generations and centuries and helped build this country, also intervening in two World Wars and continuing to at least trying to keep democracy alive in the free world. Illegal immigrants compete for food, shelter, education and jobs with our citizens. We exceeded the limit of generosity long ago. We cannot continue down this current path of open borders and full tolerance to those determined to break our laws.
wayne (Bx)
Homeless families living in New York City is problematic, of course. It's expensive to live here, even for high earners. Mixed income housing is what is being built, which is market and reduced rate rentals. Even then most families need two incomes to afford the rent in most cases. Do homeless families have two income earners? This is problematic indeed.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@wayne do they have low cost child care?no
JC (NYC)
“New York City schools could soon receive a boost in funding for each student they enroll who lives in temporary housing, after a city task force signaled it might propose changing the formula for distributing funds to city schools.” We should experiment with giving that new funding directly to the families. We can create special NYC bank accounts for those that are unbanked. I wonder if that will provide more support that funneling it through the bureaucracy.
B. (Brooklyn)
Can your suggestion be contingent on the assiduous use of birth control? How many of these homeless children are only children or have only one sibling? How many are children of recently widowed mothers? Or whose mothers have recently lost longtime, well-paying jobs? Single mothers who enter into the system with 4-5 children have done themselves and society no favor. Worse, they have badly let down the babies they brought into the world. Birth control: the great economic leveler. Finish school, get a profession or a trade, find a mate, and then have only the number of babies you can afford on your own. The way the rest of us do. It's the way to enter and, with any luck, stay in, the middle classes.
gracea (New York, NY)
@B. so you believe that people who are poor dont deserve to have children? lol
Ineeda (Mann)
Time for NYC to fight that ridiculous law that mandates every homeless person must be housed. We don’t have the room or resources to do that. Children born in NYC should have top priority of housing & education. Illegal border jumpers should be given $100 and a bus ticket to another state. I am voting for Lee Zeldin & I hope he removes NYS as a sanctuary state
barbara (santa cruz ca)
if 49% of the class can not speak english what happens to the kids who are native speakers in such a class? is any time spent with them. perhaps ms murillo should remove all spanish language media in the home for english only. my german grandparents felt in the country speak the language and all the kids became professionals. people such as karl maldin and richard burton went to school as non english speakers and picked it up.
Plimania Vermaar (PA)
@barbara What’s wrong with bilingual students? In the EU people speak 2 or 3 languages at least, its enjoyable and culturally enriching.
Nancy (Amsterdam)
Yes, the EU is not monolithic. We all have a native language. Do you really think I can communicate in Dutch in Spain?
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@Plimania Vermaar nothing is wrong, the usa lags in this but i assume all the kids in say the netherlands speak dutch, and many also, friesian, so all are studying french say, on the same level. in the usa it is more 49% speak only spanish, at home parents do too, all media they are in contact with are in spanish so to get them speaking english is harder and the native speakers are often ignored. there are some private schools taught in french but they are expensive. in the 50s in california the language teaching was poor and i do not think any became fluent speakers. we were taught mostly in english or shown movies in english beautiful peru with colorful incan ruins. tests were in english. i was good at reading and acquired a bit of fluency in reading.
Melissa (Denver)
This figure is very misleading. About 69,000 of the kids are living in a home, only they're living in a crowded home, maybe with grandparents or their aunts or family friends. That is not homeless. I bet most people here know someone who "crashed" for for a month or two at a friend's house or with family and who would be shocked (as I was) to learn they would be classified as "homeless."
ADE (MNH/SAV)
@Melissa Yes. The shocking 'homeless' figure gets bandied about every year, but there's no context that most 'homeless' live in multi-generational homes, which is of course not homelessness. Yet we see media cherry-pick the data and obfuscate.
Jared Wood (Baltimore)
As a former grades 6-12 ENL teacher working in the South Bronx, the main issue for immigrant ELLs was not only learning English, but learning how to be a STUDENT. Many of the students I taught came from countries where education was not a priority, with schools closing down for months on end or only in operation for a few hours a day (hello, Dominican Republic). I had to teach them how to come to school on time, how to come to school every day, and how to sit in a classroom. The students that came from more academically-minded countries, homeless/home-insecure or not, would grasp English much quicker (hello, Kenya).
jpk1347 (nyc)
I was homeless my senior year of high school. How can I say this: it sucked. Lived in an empty house in winter. Wrote my one college application holding a flashlight (You could write them in pen in the 80s). It's stressful. And the worst part is trying to pretend at school that things are OK. I tried volunteering with Coalition for the Homeless driving the food van. It messed me up. Funny, I see comments turning this into an immigration debate. Taking that premise on its face, I would ask, and what about the tens of thousands who were born here? That's merely rhetorical. A society that tolerates this situation for any child can burn in hell.
Shy (Brooklyn ny)
@jpk1347 what happened to your family? What responsibility do you put on them Vs “society”
Steve (Greenbrier)
@jpk1347 What do you want us to do? How do I tell my neighbours, 'Dont send your daughter to college, get your checkbook, we're leveling the playing field some more and atoning for our past once again'? Wish I had my Ted Kennedy magic wand
MD 🌎 (The Old New World)
This article doesn’t bode well for Hogul’s election….
Buck 05 (Tacoma)
Launch another satellite @spacex than can help our kids find shelter. We need an APP that can link to satellites to availability of housing for children. How ‘bout them Cowboys?! America sucks.
L S Friedman (Philadelphia, PA)
When millions of Jewish immigrants flooded into the US, 1890-1920, Jewish philanthropists made it possible for them to settle in rural parts of New Jersey where they could make a living as dairy farmers rather than living in squalid tenements in cities. Let's take a lesson from that and help recent immigrants make a fresh start in areas where the cost of living is lower, jobs are more plentiful and children can grow up breathing fresh air.
Will. (NYCNYC)
@L S Friedman How about helping U.S. citizens get some fresh air?
ADE (MNH/SAV)
@L S Friedman too many 'free' services offered in NYC. Why else would they choose to relocate to the most expensive city in the country?
mushmouth (Jacksonville)
it's absolutely despicable that the United States is being used as a dumping ground for border jumpers. then they get here in their life is just as bad as it was wherever they left. deport now.
Sang Ze (Massachusetts)
That's all?
lalamusicgirl (Savannah)
The solution would be an easy one if people cared enough. Families just have to start becoming kinder, gentler, and giving. Givers gain!! Why don't wealthy people throughout Westchester and Long Island just take these students into their homes? If each family, many with no children, but with incredibly huge resources, took in just one student, the problem would be solved. It's that easy. People just have to stop being suspicious, greedy, stingy, loners, and take good kids in. It's that simple. Why don't they just do it instead of talking about it which gets nothing accomplished?
Barbara James (NYC)
@lalamusicgirl Teachers and social workers with the experience and training to help traumatized children already struggle with these students. Urging wealthy couples to foster these children is a recipe for disaster. Maybe the wealthy couples might prefer to pay more taxes so that the experts can do the work. Or they might make charitable contributions to nonprofits helping homeless children in need, then take the tax break.
dc (Here)
Much sympathy for these children who are at the mercy of circumstances beyond their control and the inept adults who've created those circumstances.
TobyFinn (Manhattan)
This is just another example of how inept our Progressive City Council is. Ok our Quality of Life in the City is greatly diminished but how after 8 years can 104,00 children be homeless! That implies that the Parents or Parent is Homeless too. It indicates a total inability to solve this problem. There are Solutions but you must develop and implement them. MY sense there isnt a will to get it done.
M (CO)
Meanwhile, a private religious school that was stealing millions will get a slap on the wrist and make an empty promise to repay what was stolen. And that amount was what merely what investigators were able to uncover. And that was only one school in a massive network known to commit fraud to secure public education funding. The countless millions of dollars that are routinely siphoned off to nowhere in NYC ensures that families entrenched in poverty will never get a lifeline.
Ineeda (Mann)
The poor in NYC have plenty of lifelines. It is the middle class that gets NOTHING!
Talbot (New York)
6,000 new homeless students made up of migrants who've arrived in the past few months. Who don't speak English and have vast needs beyond schooling. We cannot be a "guaranteed housing" city--the only one in the country--when it means every bit of our services and safety net will eventually pushed beyond the breaking point.
Troy (Catskill)
Any society is best judged by how they treat and collectively take responsibility for children. Given that denominator, what’s THAT say about America.
Will. (NYCNYC)
City employees, including our mayor and education chancellor, work for NYC residents. Period. They do not work for the citizens of Colombia or Venezuela or El Salvadore. They work for us. They are paid by us. They work for NYC taxpayers. They need to be reminded of this reality immediately and clearly. If they want to advocate for and serve folks from Cental and South America they need to resign their positions, stop collecting NYC paid salaries, and take up work in a different organization. It really is that clear.
jpk1347 (nyc)
@Will. Proving there are no such thing as natural rights. Governments provide rights. These immigrants have only that which are granted here, if at all. We don't need cops in schools, we need bouncers. Birth certificate? I'm five, what's that, mister? Nevermind, kid, you speak good English, go inside.
Nick (NJ)
@Will. Did you ever learn about the Monroe Doctrine? Have you realized that the U.S. has had a stronghold over Latin America for the past 2 centuries that has ultimately made it unbearable for people living in those nations? Sanctions, such as in Venezuela have deeply aggravated Venezuela's economic crisis and it is because of the actions of the U.S. government that many of these undocumented migrants are making the even more unbearable track to the U.S. For any migrant who makes the trek through jungles, escaping cartels, human trafficking, and other ails clearly deserves to have a place in this country.
Heather (San Diego, CA)
"Nearly one in 10 students in New York City lived in shelters, doubled up with other families, or in cars, abandoned buildings or outside as the city grapples with a housing shortage and affordability crisis." Does "doubled up with other families" simply mean 2 families living together in an apartment or home? Overcrowding is no fun, but it's not the same as living rough on the streets. You have a roof over your head, access to a bathroom, kitchen, etc. even if you are sleeping on a pull-out couch with your two cousins. And you have a physical address for receiving mail. In Los Angeles when I lived in a studio apartment, the unit across from me was a shared home for about 17 people. They were 3 related families. They were very organized about using the space. During the day, mattresses leaned up against the interior walls and at night they were laid down on the apartment floors. Meals were often enjoyed out on the large deck area between apartments. They were certainly under-housed, but I wouldn't say that they were homeless as they had a base where they could keep their things and take care of their personal needs. When we consider the needs of the homeless, I would prioritize the needs of those on the street over those who are crowded.
Leah Golubchick (Brooklyn)
The problem with this kind of thinking is it illustrates a severe limit of imagination and empathy. There will always be a "worse problem" - why fix anything if another, bigger problem exists? It often gets used as an excuse to never address any issue. But society is able to address multiple problems at the same time, and usually for the benefit of everyone. There's no reason to not address unhomed children living at the margins of poverty just because someone else is living in a park. They require different resources and both need help.
jpk1347 (nyc)
Wow, man, the comments are really splitting all the hairs today.
Barbara James (NYC)
@Heather Overcrowding isn't just about not being "fun," it can be dangerous because it's unsafe. 17 people in an apartment that was likely meant to house a few people in a one-two or three-bedroom unit?
Howard Herman (Skokie, Illinois)
Are the candidates for the Governor race talking about this? This should be a top issue put to them as it involves the education of the state’s children. This is certainly an overwhelming issue, very difficult to resolve. But it must be addressed. It will only get worse if it is shoved to the background. Maybe one day we will see comprehensive immigration reform in our lifetimes, new laws that truly resolve this immense matter. Maybe, but not holding my breath here waiting for it soon.
Sam (Minneapolis)
If this is true, and NY students are lacking food and housing, should NYC continue to be a sanctuary city? Is it a good idea to be using massive resources to support illegal immigrants when the city cannot adequately care for homeless citizen children?
jpk1347 (nyc)
@Sam Sam, citizen-children, you on that one? Thanks, bud.
Luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
Sounds like a good reason why Biden should shut down the borders to illegal immigrants. Even a city that boasts of how great it is cannot deal with the homeless levels of existing residents, much less the addition of their share of Biden’s 2 million migrants this year.
MD-1 (Charlotte USA)
@Luxembourg correct--subtitle of the article says it all
Will. (NYCNYC)
The continued importation of tens of thousands of economic migrants into the city shelter and school systems is not sustainable in any way, shape or form. We all realize this. It creates further chaos for NYC school children already recovering from devastating pandemic learning challenges. This burden is falling on more vulnerable schools where learning is already hard. It's swelling classroom sizes. NYC school children will pay a heavy price for this unwanted influx. Why do we allow it? Why has educating thousands of kids from South America all of a sudden become a burden on an already over-burdened NYC school system? Thousands more are arriving by the week. We can expect complete breakdown. This has to stop.
L S Friedman (Philadelphia, PA)
@Will. The same argument was made when my impoverished great grandparents and millions of other Jews, Italians, Irish and Poles fled starvation and persecution to come to America. In a single generation, they went from being illiterate to entering the middle class and sending their children to college. Today, the descendants of these immigrants are your doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants and college professors. That is why we "allow" it. Because it makes us stronger, grows our economy and defines our Democracy!
Will. (NYCNYC)
@L S Friedman With all due respect, you are conjuring a world that no longer exits. When your grandparents arrived, I bet NYC (or any other city or state) wasn't stuck housing and feeding and clothing them. They were on their own or taken in by their communities. And most importantly, while I have no idea when your grandparents arrived, let's assume that was about 1920 or so...the population of the United States was about 100 million. We are now at about 340 million, probably undercounted by more than a few million illegal migrants. The world had about 1.8 billion people in 1920. Today we are at 8 billion and counting. We have a degraded environment. The climate is changing rapidly displacing tens of millions. We are overcrowded. We are full. In short, to compare today's global and national circumstances to the way things were 100 years ago is totally and absolutely absurd. We have more than enough people and the illegal and unmanaged influx must stop right now. Right now.
B. (Brooklyn)
L S, that was before subsidies, subsidized housing, and bilingual education. Immigrants in those days made do and vowed their own kids would do better. That's why they made it.
Steven Anderson (Rockland County)
As someone who is familiar with homeless services in New York City, including outreach, it is not true that there are 5,500 children and young people living in parks, abandoned buildings or vehicles in the five boroughs. I am not sure where the reporter got this information, but given their is a absolute right to shelter in the city, finding a child in one of these spaces is a rarity. There are indeed lots of challenges facing homeless students, but street homeless is not one of them.
jpk1347 (nyc)
@Steven Anderson As someone who helped with the homeless census in the past, I would agree this number is high. That is more like the total number of adults on the street in January when the census is taken. But, in cars, in buildings that lack utilities including heat. In a city of 8 million people, does 5.500 chldren living like this sounds possible? You tell me.
B. (Brooklyn)
I have never seen children living in Prospect Park or any park, or on a sidewalk, or in an apartment building vestibule, or in the subway. Private philanthropies and public services find them and their mothers shelters no matter where they're from. Places like Sanctuary for Families have been doing this sort of work for decades. Charitable trusts, like the one my cousin works for, own buildings where they accommodate both homeless families and expectant mothers and where they teach them nutrition and other tricks of the family trade. But we cannot keep it all up if we insist on being a sanctuary city.
People of the Global Majority (Planet Earth)
When children are homeless, we as a society are facilitating their future doom: "Numerous studies have found that homelessness during childhood or youth is associated with a myriad of health and social problems, including, infectious disease, chronic physical health conditions, poor nutrition, dental disease, mental illness, substance abuse, injury, mortality, poorer cognitive functioning and academic performance, behavioral health risks, and violence [12,13,14]. A systematic review of studies using “full psychiatric diagnostic interview [s]” found the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among youth experiencing homelessness to be between 48 and 98% ([15], p. e3). Moreover, the experience of homelessness as a very young child may also be associated with adverse consequences, such as developmental delays. For example, one study found that infants and children aged 2 months to 6 years experiencing homelessness had developmental scores at levels significantly poorer than the general population, with the most pronounced differences in the domains of language and communication [16]." [from "The association between experiencing homelessness in childhood or youth and adult housing stability in Housing First"]. It just makes fiscal and ethical sense to spend the money to deal with this now.
People of the Global Majority (Planet Earth)
When children are homeless, we as a society are facilitating their future doom: "Numerous studies have found that homelessness during childhood or youth is associated with a myriad of health and social problems, including, infectious disease, chronic physical health conditions, poor nutrition, dental disease, mental illness, substance abuse, injury, mortality, poorer cognitive functioning and academic performance, behavioral health risks, and violence [12,13,14]. A systematic review of studies using “full psychiatric diagnostic interview [s]” found the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among youth experiencing homelessness to be between 48 and 98% ([15], p. e3). Moreover, the experience of homelessness as a very young child may also be associated with adverse consequences, such as developmental delays. For example, one study found that infants and children aged 2 months to 6 years experiencing homelessness had developmental scores at levels significantly poorer than the general population, with the most pronounced differences in the domains of language and communication [16]." [from "The association between experiencing homelessness in childhood or youth and adult housing stability in Housing First"]. It just makes fiscal and ethical sense to spend the money to deal with this now.
Me (Miami)
Yup, the NYC government has been doing a great job….. Why do New Yorkers put up with it?
jpk1347 (nyc)
So, we don't have to live in Miami.
EAH (NYC)
So instead of helping our own we are now saddled with thousands of so called migrants to further siphon our resources that should be spent on helping New York children
Some Guy (USA)
Yes because the Democrats (incorrectly) believe that allowing mass illegal immigration will harness Progressive excitement, and thus better turnout, over demographic change. They also incorrectly believe that their position will win over Hispanic voters who allegedly care first and foremost that everyone who fits under this identity label wants the exact same thing. Don’t expect any meaningful help for homeless kids who are legally living here.
Will. (NYCNYC)
@EAH NYC parents should be marching on the education chancellor's office and the mayor's office. Their children will pay the price for this influx of economic migrants. The pie really isn't growing but there are more and more mouths to feed with this unwanted influx. NYC officials need to advocate for NYC children and families not thousands and thousands of folks from Central and South America. Make it stop. Now.
Robert (Houston)
@EAH This has been the argument of a lot of people down here for quite some time. It eventually gets washed away by calling that sort of thinking racist, xenophobic, and nationalist. It's insane. Take care of the folks you have first before trying to save everyone else.
MP (Brooklyn)
I’m just fascinated by the same people who talk about what we need to do for our citizens and then block every effort to improve lives.
Nevermore (NJ)
We cannot even afford to give our own most vulnerable citizens a decent living but think it makes sense to import even more desperate people into these situations - it is a recipe for disaster, almost assuring that that generational poverty will continue full steam. It's about time Democrats and Republicans stop playing games and get serious immigration controls, because America is not the myth the world believes: we are not the land of milk and honey, but the land of deep racial and economic inequality. These migrants, who are likely low skilled and can do little but struggle here, should not be forced to deal with our own short comings. Enough.
NJB MD (Ohio)
More students/people in temporary housing are expected with the downturn in the economy. In a location such as New York where housing is expensive for even middle-class individuals with jobs, more people are going to be in temporary housing, and more temporary housing is needed before the cold winter months are here. Housing is every location in this country is in crisis for people who don't make enough or don't have the resources to afford it. Politicians in many places don't care as they hope the lack of affordable housing will get rid of people that they deem undesirable. In other locations, the cities/counties are overwhelmed because they lack resources. The reality is that people are going to need affordable housing everywhere. Governments can look in the other direction or we can pay more taxes to care for those who are most vulnerable. I choose to care for those who are most vulnerable as I don't believe that any person in my locale is undesirable if they are working to live there.
KLP (Brooklyn)
“Nearly one in 10 students in New York City lived in shelters, doubled up with other families, or in cars, abandoned buildings or outside as the city grapples with a housing shortage and affordability crisis.” One in TEN! Even one homeless student in this city would be unacceptable, but one in ten is a stunning statistic. We have to reset our priorities in this city and stop turning it into a playground for the rich while our children suffer.
Justin (Chicago)
@KLP How can any teacher function in those conditions? How do you even assign homework? Where do student keep their books?
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