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Advocates Apply Pressure On Mayor-Elect Adams As New Report Shows 101,000 City Students Experience Homelessness

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new report finds for the sixth year in a row more than 100,000 students in New York City's public schools experienced homelessness.

Now, a coalition of advocacy organizations are calling on Mayor-elect Eric Adams to take more aggressive steps to address the problem, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.

The Bronx continues to have the highest concentration of homeless students, according to a new report from Advocates for Children.

Across the city, there were more than 101,000 students last school year, alone.

"Educational supports for students need to be overhauled," said Jennifer Pringle, project director for Advocates for Children.

According to the report, in District 9, which includes Grand Concourse, Morrisania and Tremont, more than 1 out of every 5 students experienced homelessness. That includes living in shelters, temporary housing with family and friends, or living on the street.

All create barriers to achievement.

"The first two weeks of school, he wasn't in," one parent said. "There wasn't anybody available to take him on the bus."

The mother from a shelter asked not to be identified, but shared hardships of navigating the school system to get services for her 12-year-old son with special needs.

"I have my kid's health issues, my health issues, housing, school. It's just all piling up," the mother said.

When asked about concerns, the city points to the slight decrease in the number of homeless students in recent years, and efforts to nearly double the number of staff serving students in shelters.

"We send in tutors, we send in specialized help, social workers to the shelters. We've got to go an extra mile to give those kids the education they deserve," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

But a coalition of 40 advocacy groups is calling on Mayor-elect Adams to do more, including improving WiFi access in shelters, increasing access to early childhood education, and placing families in shelters closer to where children attend school.

"We know what some of the answers are, but do we have the collective will to get the funding, support and policies in place to really have a system-wide impact?" Pringle said.

Advocates say the Department of Education can't do it alone.

Adams is currently out of the country, but in a statement his spokesperson said, "Eric has continually cited this shocking statistic as a call to action for New York to overhaul its approach to homelessness, and to prioritize investments in affordable housing and services. As a person who was housing insecure as a young man, Eric is very aware of the dangers and trauma of homelessness, especially on children."

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