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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


Innovative Data Support


Success Mentoring


Targeted Resources & Partnerships

 Principal & Community School Director Capacity Building

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 inter-agency resources such as Single Stop to to support STH families and students to connect with needed resources

Success for Students in Temporary Housing Newsletter

Webinar Series

To learn more about strategies to support students in temporary housing, please review our Supporting Students In Temporary Housing Webinar.

Shelter Contacts

There are DOE Family Assistants who work at every shelter across the city. You can directly contact the Family Assistants that work in shelters where your students reside. The link here has all the shelter contacts:  DOE Family Assistants

In addition, each borough has a Department of Education STH Liaison who can assist further with connecting to borough wide resources as well in the Office of Safety and Youth Development: DOE STH Liaison.

Success Mentoring

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.  

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.

  • Download the presentation slides for additional help in assigning tiered supports to address chronic absenteeism

  • Use the Community School Tiered Attendance Intervention Plan to ensure your school is targeting attendance interventions to the right students.

  • The Attendance Inquiry Protocol can help guide you in consistent attendance planning procedures.

  • New Visions student sorters and attendance heat maps now include STH information that can help you target resources for your students. Refer to this one-page how-to guide containing information on where to find your school’s STH data.

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 Success Mentor, other administrative staff, a guidance counselor, and a social worker.

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

Transportation Resources

All students in grades K-6 living in a shelter are entitled to busing from the Office of Pupil Transportation. This one-pager provides additional information as well as the OPT number to call to check the route and make sure it is set up : 718-392-8855 . If you are connected with your DOE shelter assistants, they can assist in this process of getting busing set up in a timely manner for students.

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.

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP): 
Valuable opportunity for your students who are aged 14 years and older!

The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has 3,100 slots available for GUARANTEED summer job placement within the Vulnerable Youth Summer Youth Employment Program (VY SYEP). This is for all students who are:
  • Homeless, in the NYC shelter system, or in other temporary housing
  • Justiceinvolved youth
  • Youth in foster care or receiving preventive services through ACS

Review the Vulnerable Youth Handbook, SYEP Application Package, and VY Provider Contact Sheet if you are interested.

For further questions about this opportunity, contact Jennifer MitchellMayer at jmitchellmayer

BSW/MSW Field Placement Internship Program: 
Become a Success Mentor at a NYC Community School! If you are a BSW or MSW student located in NYC, you can complete your field instruction at a Community School.