February 16, By Hannah Wulkan
The number of children who are homeless attending Forest Hills and Kew Gardens public schools is very low compared to schools across the city, according to a recent study.
According to a report released by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, approximately 2.3 percent of children in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens schools have experienced homelessness in the last five years.
The numbers in Forest Hills are much lower than the citywide numbers. Throughout the city, about one in eight children, or 12.5 percent, have experienced homelessness in the last five years, according to the report, and there were over 80,000 homeless public school students in the 2014 to 2015 school year.
The organization released a map indicating the largest pockets of homelessness in schools, and broke the data down by each individual school, giving a full picture of the largest problem areas.
The map “provides a detailed picture of homelessness within the City’s educational system: where homeless students go to school, what kind of support they may need, what their academic outcomes look like, what differences exist by the type of homelessness a student experiences, and what the lasting impacts of homelessness are educationally—even after a student’s housing instability has ended,” the report explains.
The largest percentage of homeless students in the local schools was at P.S. 99 at 82-37 Kew Gardens Road, which had 64 homeless students out of 863 total, or a 7.4 percent rate of homelessness among students, the data in the study shows.
Many schools in the district had a much smaller rate of homelessness. Four schools out of the 15 local schools in the area had less than 10 homeless students.
Other schools in the district saw rates as low as 1.5 percent, and no other schools had homelessness rates over 3.5 percent, indicating very low numbers of homeless students.
The report also broke down homelessness by race citywide, showing that over half the homeless students throughout the city were Hispanic, 34 percent were black, nine percent were Asian and four percent were white.
It showed that students who experienced homelessness had a 17.8 percent dropout rate, compared to the citywide rate of nine percent, and students who experienced homelessness had a 52 percent graduation rate, compared with a citywide rate of 70 percent.
“Children who experience housing instability struggle more academically, not because they have less potential than other children, but because they must constantly deal with the stress of uncertainty—will they have food, clean clothes, a safe place to sleep? Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty and ensuring homeless children have access to a better future,” the report explains.
“With more and more children experiencing homelessness, it is vitally important to understand the unique challenges that homeless students face and the interventions and opportunities available to meet their needs,” it continues.
For a copy of the full report, click here.