Attendance among students living in homeless shelters remains “alarmingly low,” even after full-time in-person schooling resumed last fall, a new analysis from the organization Advocates for Children found.

In October 2021, attendance for students in shelters was just 78.9% — almost eleven points lower than the attendance rate for students in permanent housing. While students in shelter have long had poor attendance, that gap is higher than it was before the pandemic.

High schoolers saw even lower attendance rates, dipping below 70% for students in tenth and twelfth grades, meaning many missed more than a week of school in October.

The attendance of twelfth graders living in shelters had attendance 17.5% lower than permanently housed twelfth-graders.

Advocates for Children argues it shows the need for more Department of Education staff based directly in shelters who can help families overcome barriers to school attendance, such as transportation or enrollment issues.

The city has promised to hire 50 shelter-based community coordinators, but the organization argues the city needs many more to fully serve the 28,000 public school students who spend time in shelters each year.

A coalition of more than 30 organizations has asked the DOE to hire another 100 shelter-based community coordinators, using federal stimulus funds to do so.