WCA's New Digital Dashboard Helps Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Westchester
WCA’s dashboard offers important insight into the number of children experiencing homelessness in Westchester County and the barriers preventing them from getting much-needed help
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Additionally, totals and averages often quoted around children and homelessness frequently hide the full story. “This dashboard gives a visual picture of students that might actually be hidden in the numbers,” Lake says. “It’s an important part of the story and should open up a dialogue to get at the real numbers and ensure that all children are getting the services they need if they are economically disadvantaged and/or homeless.”
Some Key Points Shown in the WCA Dashboard
The dashboard helps to illuminate the the full story of who is experiencing homelessness in Westchester by providing data to illustrate several key points:
- Black and Brown children are much more likely to experience homelessness and housing instability compared to their White and Asian counterparts. In the 2019-20 school year, Black and Hispanic public-school students represented 92% of those experiencing homelessness in Westchester, even though they only represented 48% of the public-school population during the same time period.
- The Economically Disadvantaged Rate, a poverty measure used by the New York State Education Department, is not a reliable predictor of the homelessness rate for a school district. For example, in the 2019-20 school year, Mount Vernon reported 68% of its students as economically disadvantaged and 12% of its students as homeless. In comparison, Yonkers reported 75% of its children as economically disadvantaged and 2% of its children as homeless.
- A large proportion of youth experiencing homelessness in Westchester do not receive adequate support or preventative homelessness services. According to the NYS Education Department, 2,357 students were experiencing homelessness in 2019-20. However, because of different definitions of homelessness, only 608 of those children were receiving county services to help them transition out of homelessness (about 26%), meaning 3 out of 4 homeless children were not receiving services to help them find permanent housing.
WCA developed the dashboard in collaboration with the Westchester County Department of Social Services and the Westchester Continuum of Care Partnership to End Homelessness. View the dashboard to learn more.