A policy brief released in early October reports that the number of children in New York City facing housing instability due to foreclosure is growing and that the children affected are concentrated in underperforming schools and are disproportionately poor and African-American.
Researchers at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and its Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) examined New York City students and schools affected by foreclosures between the 2003-2004 and 2006-2007 school years and found that number of students who live in homes that entered foreclosure grew by 59%, to more than 18,000 in the 2006-2007 school year. Moreover, 57% of students facing foreclosure are African-American, compared to 33% of public school students in New York City as a whole.
Looking at foreclosures in the city as a whole, the authors note that the number of properties receiving a notice of foreclosure each year in New York City nearly tripled over the past decade, rising from just under 8,000 in 2000 to almost 21,000 properties in 2009. Fifty-three percent of these properties are small multifamily properties housing two to four families each, which means that the 21,000 properties entering foreclosure in 2009 contained nearly 46,000 separate housing units, the majority of which are inhabited by renters. Despite recent federal protections offered by the Protecting Renters at Foreclosure (PTFA) act, the authors conclude that many renters likely move out during the foreclosure process or are evicted when properties are sold.
The researchers then examined the distribution of foreclosures across New York City and found that 73% of students living in properties entering foreclosure lived in Brooklyn and Queens. Even within these boroughs, students were concentrated in schools that are already lower performing and disproportionately African-American, with high percentages of students eligible for free or reduced lunch. Showing the uneven distribution of the problem among schools, the report finds that half of the students living in properties entering foreclosure attended just 14% of all city schools.
In calling on schools to be attentive to the foreclosure issue, the authors cite other research that has shown that housing instability may affect a student’s school performance through social network disruption, depression, increased absence, and exposure to crime and instability among peers.
For further information on Kids and Foreclosure go to: http://furmancenter.org/research/publications/