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The Context

Roughly 8% of New York City school students live in temporary housing, and face unique challenges in overcoming barriers to attending school regularly. The Office of Community Schools works with over 9,000 students in temporary housing throughout 150 schools.


Community Schools




STH (12% of students)


STH- in 20 pilot schools

Students in Temporary Housing (STH): Definitions

STH students include those living in non-permanent housing situations, such as:

  • Homeless shelters

  • Domestic violence shelters

  • Awaiting foster care placement/ group homes

  • ‘Doubled up’ living with another family

The Program

In a Community School, the school leadership team and the Community School partner work together with the surrounding community to create a "web of support" for each student in temporary housing.

This web of support includes the following:

  • A highly effective Success Mentoring program comprised of social work students recruited through local University partnerships

  • Using real time data to monitor impact interventions on attendance of STH students during organized weekly meetings

  • Connecting to interagency resources like single stop to leverage STH families and students overcome barriers to attending and learning in school.

Attendance Strategies and Resources

Leveraging Leadership

The initiative supports principals in preventing chronic absenteeism.

Click to access,

"Every Student, Every Day" Principals' Guide 2016-2017

Success Mentoring

The initiative promotes the work of Success Mentors as a key school-based strategy.

Click to access, "The Success Mentor Guide"

Maximize Citywide Resources
Through our interagency partnerships, schools can connect with numerous resources to ensure seamless delivery of services from school to shelter sites and back again

Taking Action: Use Data to Identify and Support STH Students

The first step in addressing Chronic Absenteeism is to identify a target list of STH students and coordinate the appropriate interventions for each student.

Weekly Student Success Team Meetings

A targeted strategy for attendance improvement is holding weekly student success team meetings that include participation by the Principal, the CSD, the AmeriCorps Success Mentor, other administrative staff, a guidance counselor, and a social worker.

Access the resources below to support your school in implementing this strategy.

  • Sample Weekly Meeting Agenda: This tool is designed to help your Student Success Team understand desired outcomes and actions from the weekly meetings, and plan effective agendas to facilitate a successful meeting.

  • Starting Strong: Attendance Planning Worksheet: This tools is designed to help your school identify and prioritize strategic actions that will improve your chronic absence rates.

Students in temporary housing with a Success Mentor gain almost two weeks of school a year, according to a John’s Hopkins University study released by Robert Balfanz.  
Research and Public Policy

Institute on Children, Poverty and Homelessness (ICPH) has created “The Atlas on Student Homelessness in New York City”. Valuable resource for understanding breakdown on student homelessness in school districts across the city.

Not Reaching the Door: Homeless Students Face Many Hurdles on the Way to School New York City’s Independent Budget Office report, with findings that over 82,000 + students who are homeless city wide, and its implications for students who are in temporary housing. You can read more information about this change in the NY Times article.

Recent Press Articles:

PATH policy: New policy at DHS PATH center, now that has made it easier for students to remain in school during their intake. All family members only need to be present for the first appointment, and children do not need to be present for all of the follow up meetings. More information about the change in this NY Times article.

Politico: City convenes principals to discuss plight of record number of homeless students. "The Department of Education last week held its first-ever meeting of principals who oversee schools with high homeless populations, part of an ongoing effort to provide support services for a record number of school children in temporary housing. Top education officials, including deputy chancellor Elizabeth Rose, community schools director Chris Caruso and Office of Safety and Youth Development CEO Lois Herrera met with 50 principals and social workers from 33 schools that educate large numbers of homeless students."

"One in 10: That’s how many New York City students experienced homelessness in the past school year, according to statistics released Monday on a burgeoning student population that often experiences devastating academic performance."

Linking to Community Resources

SingleStop - Many CBOs work closely with local nonprofits and city agencies to connect families to important resources. Centrally, we’re building a bigger, stronger relationship to Single Stop, a network of nonprofits who specialize in conducting coordinated assessments and intakes with families to make sure they are connected to as many services as appropriate from the start (including Food Stamps, health care, housing supports, free legal services, and free tax preparation).

Homebase - Homebase is a network of Department of Homeless Services contractors that provides assistance for homelessness and eviction prevention. The map below shows how to find a Homebase provider close to your school district.