According to a report funded by the New York State Education Department, student homelessness is soaring in the Peekskill City School District, with a reported 12 percent of students having met the McKinney-Vento federal definition of “homeless” at any point in the 2015-16 school year. That number is up from five percent in 2009-10. The federal definition of homeless includes children forced to live with family or friends, residing in shelters, motels and hotels and those staying in spaces not designated as sleeping areas.
When asked by lohud about the report, which was put together by Advocates for Children of New York, Peekskill City School District Director of Special Services Ellen Hackett named the drivers of the problem.
“There’s more of a transient population as well as immigrant population and I think that just the numbers of people in the Hispanic community who are transient are looking for housing has increased,” Hackett said.
However, according to the Ossining statistics, only 72 students in that district—which, like Peekskill, has a large, mostly Ecuadorian immigrant population—were reported as being homeless in 2015-16. In Peekskill, the number was 380. In Yorktown, the number was zero and in Hendrick Hudson the number was 12.
Only two other districts—Mount Vernon and Tarrytown—have similar numbers of homeless students. Together, the three districts educate close to 60 percent of the county’s students.
• In 2009-10, 291 of Mount Vernon’s 8,565 students (3.31 percent) were classified as homeless. In 2015-16, 888 of Mount Vernon’s 8,096 students (10.97 percent) were classified as homeless.
• In 2009-10, 137 of Peekskill’s 2,742 students (4.97 percent) were classified as homeless. In 2015-16, 380 of Peekskill’s 3,198 students (11.88 percent) were classified as homeless.
• In 2009-10, 137 of Tarrytown’s 2,545 students (4.48 percent) were classified as homeless. In 2015-16, 267 of Tarrytown’s 2,754 students (9.69 percent) were classified as homeless.
Seeking further information as to how the statistics were gathered, The Peekskill Post left a voicemail for Emily J. Kramer, a senior program analyst at Advocates for Children of New York Wednesday afternoon.