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Non-Profit Help USA Providing High Speed Internet For Students Attending Online Classes In Temporary Homeless Shelters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The start of the school year is less than one month away for New York City's public school students.

Back to school preps are looking much different this year, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, especially for students living in shelters.

Khirzhen Doctolero, will start high school online in September, but her tablet, which was issued by the Department of Education, doesn't always keep her connected to the internet.

"The data goes slow, the page will load and all my answers are gone," said Doctolero, who lives in Help USA's transitional housing.

Help USA, a nonprofit, is installing Wi-Fi at all of its facilities to ensure 600 families have high speed internet access.

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"Everybody in one of our facilities could be using Zoom at the same time and we're not going to experience any internet problems," said Adam Huron, senior vice president of Help USA.

Wi-Fi will also help connect the organization's clients to social services that are currently being provided remotely.


One in ten New York City public school students are homeless, Cline-Thomas reported. That creates barriers impacting everything from reading proficiency to graduation rates. Now, the pandemic is creating more obstacles for the most vulnerable students.

In response, Huron said social workers on site are getting additional training to better advocate for students.

"We're also going to be serving as somebody who is going to help with lesson planning for parents and try and make sure that we understand that," said Huron. "And certainly step in when there's added difficulty with multiple children in multiple different grade levels."

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That's welcomed news to the Doctolero family.

"Education is really important," said Khirzhen's mother, Zhendy Doctolero. "I keep telling her that... And she's so on top of it because she knows what I've been through."

They're already trying their best and continue to work hard to overcome so much.

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