Student Homelessness in New York City

More than 220,000
NYC public school students
have experienced homelessness
since the 2010-11 school year.

During the 2016-17 school year, one in 10 NYC public school students were identified as homeless. These students were more likely to have transferred mid-year and to have missed school repeatedly, two factors that can affect a student’s ability to stay on pace with their classmates. Younger homeless students were under-enrolled in the city’s pre-K programs and were more likely to have their special education needs identified late. And academic outcomes, including standardized assessments and graduation rates, were consistently lower for students who had experienced homelessness.

Education represents one of the most powerful tools for breaking the cycle of poverty. But the instability of homelessness creates obstacles and challenges that can adversely affect the academic outcomes of students who experience it. Understanding the effects of housing instability in the lives of these students is necessary to effectively support their needs, and ensure that they can have the same educational opportunities as their housed peers.

Student Homelessness in New York City uses enrollment data from the New York City Department of Education dating back to the 2010–11 school year to explore this growing crisis. Released as a series, this resource will cover topics such as the geography of student homelessness and school instability factors like chronic absenteeism and mid-year school transfers. Later topics in the series will examine barriers to learning including whether the needs of homeless students who are learning English or have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are being met, the disproportionate suspension rates for homeless students, and lastly, the effects of housing instability on academic outcomes like graduation rates and test scores. This series is useful to educators, service providers, policymakers, and concerned citizens hoping to better understand the challenges facing homeless students.

Series chapters:

The Geography of Homelessness


Who are New York City’s homeless students? Where do they go to school? How has this mounting crisis evolved in recent years? Read more.

School Instability Factors

What school instability factors impact homeless students and at what rates? Learn more.

Addressing Barriers to Learning

How does early and stable participation in educational services impact academic outcomes? Learn more.

Disparities in Academic Achievement

What impact does homelessness have on proficiency rates and high school completion?
Learn more.

Supplemental reports:

Housed Without Stability

The Continuing Challenges Faced by Formerly Homeless Students
Read more.

Beyond Graduation

Are Homeless High School Students Prepared for College?
Learn more.


Absenteeism Among Homeless Students

Where Housing and School Instability Meet Learn more.

Additional resources:

NYC Student Homelessness Trends

How has student homelessness in NYC public schools changed over the last decade? Examine the trends.

New York City Map of Student Homelessness

Learn more about student homelessness in your neighborhood.
Explore the data.

What’s Next? Subscribe for Updates:

Receive all ICPH Education reports, commentary and interactive data via email by subscribing below.