Students in Temporary Housing

The law requires that students living in temporary housing have:

  • the same public education; and
  • the same educational services

as students with permanent housing.

Complete the Housing Questionnaire to help determine services a student may be eligible to receive.

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Get Help

We have an office that can help families who live in temporary housing. To get you to the right person, we’ll need to know what district you live in now.

Find your District

Call 311 and ask for a representative. Tell them:

  • you are looking for the school district; and
  • where you are currently living.

 Or go to Find a School and:

  • Type your current address
  • Click Search

Connect with an Expert

Once you know your district, you can reach out to the person who works with it. Below is a list—by borough and district—of our staff. You can also find information about District 75, District 79 or Central Staff further down on this page.

Unaccompanied Youth and Special Circumstances Specialist

Iris Gersten
131 Livingston Street, 4th Floor
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
718-935-4971 or 212-342-8376

Bronx

Districts 7, 9, 10

Stephanie Dyer
One Fordham Plaza
Room 816
Bronx, NY 10458
718-741-7783

Districts 8, 11, 12

Rebekha Askew
1230 Zerega Avenue, Room 6
Bronx, NY 10462
718-828-2644

Brooklyn

Districts 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 23, 32

Wayne Harris
131 Livingston Street, Floor 4
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-3562

District 31

Iris Gersten
131 Livingston Street, Floor 4
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-4971 or 212-342-8376

Districts 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

Charlene Mitchell
1780 Ocean Avenue, Room 1B
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-758-7722

Manhattan

Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Cecilio (Bo) Diaz
333 Seventh Avenue, Floor 7
NY, NY 10001
917-339-1698

Staten Island

Iris Gersten
131 Livingston Street, Floor 4
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-4971 or 212-342-8376

Queens

Districts 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Linda Wilson
28-11 Queens Plaza North
LIC, NY 11101
718-391-6849

District 75, Special Education

Michele Marcel
400 First Avenue
NY, NY 10010
212-802-1579

Joan E. Boreland
400 First Avenue, Room 715
NY, NY 10010
917-256-3320 ext. 4365

District 79

Bronx

Linda Cervantes
Bronx Regional HS
1010 Rev. Polite Avenue
Bronx, NY 10459
718-518-3320 ext. 4365

Manhattan

Zully Tejada
Alternative Learning Complex
269 West 35 Street
NY, NY 10018
212 244-1274 ext. 112

Brooklyn

Millie Velasquez
Marcy Avenue Complex
832 Marcy Avenue
Brooklyn, 11216
718-636-5770 ext. 2047

Deborah Rosen
Center for High School Alternatives 69 Schermerhorn Brooklyn, 11217
718-935-9457 ext. 1040

Queens

Samara Mohamed
Jamaica Learning Center
162-02 Hillside Ave
Jamaica, NY 11432
718-739-2100 ext. 5006

Staten Island

Melissa Galli
St. George
450 St. Marks Place
Staten Island, NY 10301
718-273-3225 ext.120

Students in Temporary Housing Central Staff

Katherine Marshall-Polite, Executive Director
1230 Zerega Avenue, Room 6
Bronx, NY 10462
718-828-2208

Bak Harris, Senior Program Manager
One Fordham Plaza, Room 816
Bronx, NY 10458
646-416-0364

Winnie Tjioe, Senior Data Analyst
131 Livingston Street, Floor 4
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-4939

Marygrace Ponzio, Program Coordinator
28-11 Queens Plaza North
LIC, NY 11101
718-391-6845

Shaquieta Boyd, Queens Program Manager
28-11 Queens Plaza North
LIC, NY 11101
718-391-6843

Thomas E. Gonzalez, Bridging the Gap Program Administrator
1230 Zerega Avenue, Room 6
Bronx, NY, 10462
917-602-8357

Contacts

  • NYC Department of Youth & Community Development offers drop-in centers, runaway and homeless youth resources.
  • Student Enrollment: Visit a Family Welcome Center (see link below) or call 718-935-2009
  • Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy call 212-374-4118 or email: FACE@schools.nyc.gov to find your schools parent advocate and ask about parent programs.
  • Special Education Hotline 718-935-2007
  • Know your rights regarding McKinney Vento Homeless Act: 800-388-2014
  • State Program Associate for the NYS Education Department Melanie P. Faby 518-473-0295 Fax 518-486-1762
  • Call 718-392-8855 For information about yellow buses or visit our transportation web page:

Find Out More

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Frequently Asked Questions


Which students are considered homeless?

A student who lives in any of the following situations is considered, under the McKinney-Vento Act, homeless:

  • A shelter or transitional shelter,
  • A motel,
  • A car, bus or train,
  • A park or public place,
  • An abandoned building, or
  • With friends or relatives because they cannot find or afford housing.

Who is an unaccompanied youth?

An unaccompanied youth is a person, under the age of 18, who lives in one of the situations listed above and is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

What education rights does an unaccompanied homeless youth have?

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, an unaccompanied homeless youth has the right to:

  • A free public education
  • Immediate enrollment in their zoned school
  • Attend school no matter how long they have lived at their current location
  • Stay in the school they attended before becoming homeless or choose to attend their new zoned school
  • Transportation services to and from school
  • Not be denied immediate school enrollment just because of their situation, or because they lack enrollment documentation
  • Not be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless, and to
  • Receive free school meals

Where can I get help in schools?

Every borough has at least one Students in Temporary Housing Content Expert who works with schools and manages programs and services for homeless youth.

The STH Content Expert also supervises a team of Family Assistants.  Family Assistants are located at shelters and in some schools. They help families with enrollment, getting immunizations and school records, and arranging transportation to and from school.

Additionally, both District 75 and District 79 have STH staff members you can contact. Their contact information is listed above.

How do I choose a school if my child is homeless?

When choosing a school for your child, you can choose:

  • The school your child attended before they became homeless,
  • The last school your child was enrolled in; or
  • Any school available to a non-homeless child who lives in the same area as the homeless child.

How do I enroll my child?

The following information applies only if your child is currently not enrolled in school, or you want to change your child’s school.

  • Elementary school: enroll your child at the school for which they are zoned. If you live in a city homeless shelter, the family assistant at your shelter can help you. If there is no family assistant in your shelter, or if you are not residing in a shelter, contact your school or the STH liaison for help.
  • Middle school: enroll your child at the school for which they are zoned. However, if you live in a district that does not have zoned middle schools, go to the Borough Enrollment Center. Call 311 for the address of your nearest Borough Center.
  • High school: all high school students must enroll at the Borough Enrollment Center.

What if there is a disagreement about enrollment?

If you and the Office of Enrollment disagree about something, your child must be immediately admitted to the school at which they are seeking enrollment. Then the Office of Enrollment will review and decide the disagreement. You will receive a letter from Office of Enrollment explaining their decision. You can challenge (appeal) the decision. An STH staff member will help you.

Is transportation help available?

Homeless students have the right to transportation to and from school. Buses are provided for students in Pre-K to grade six. If busing is not available, your child is eligible for a student MetroCard.

If your child receives a student MetroCard (and is in Pre-K–6 grade), you are also eligible for public transportation help. This is so that you can ride public transportation with your child.

Students in grades 7–12 are eligible for a student MetroCard.

For more information, contact a staff member in the Students in Temporary Housing Office (listed above).

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