Report released about educating New York’s homeless adults


The following is a summary of the article How a GED is a Real Advantage in Reducing Family Homelessness in New York City in the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness on two New York programs using education and housing assistance to create opportunities for homeless individuals to transition into more permanent housing and job placement.  The collaboration of New York City’s Department of Homeless Services Advantage program and the New York City Council’s Back-to-School campaign could benefit homeless individuals to obtain proper education, better jobs, and housing to go out of shelters and homelessness permanently.

The opportunity that a high school diploma or General Educational Development Exam (GED) can provide for a parent could be linked to assisting families and creating long-term opportunities towards stable income and housing.  Almost 50% of homeless parents did not complete high school and have not obtained a GED to help ensure more gainful employment.  By having access to a GED, employment seeking adults have been able to increase their income by an average of $3,500 per year.  In the long run, New Yorkers with their GED or high school diploma can expect to earn 65% more over their lifetime than their high school drop out counterparts.

Since less than 2% of New York’s adult population without high school diplomas are seeking out the opportunity to take the GED exam, the New York City Council has implemented a Back-to-School program to promote education for New York adults.  The Back-to-School program could be especially resourceful for homeless adults and parents to uphold better, long-term jobs with more stability.  Having a high school diploma or GED can help ensure job security during economic hardship.

Increasing education among homeless adults is not only beneficial for the individual and their family but also for the city.  The New York City’s Community Services Society found that individuals with a high school diploma or GED contribute a net fiscal benefit of nearly $193,000 after being provided the opportunity for a GED course costing about $1,000 per person.

In order to make the New York City’s Department of Homeless Services’ Advantage program work, individuals should be provided tools and resources to get out of homelessness for good.  The program requires individuals to uphold at least a part time job and contribute 30% of their gross monthly income towards rent for the first year.  In order to maintain a stable job to allow the transition into self-sufficiency, the Advantage program should also provide enough resources, such as opportunity to obtain a GED, to homeless individuals. The collaboration of the Back-to-School program and the Advantage program would be a positive opportunity for the homeless individuals and taxpayers in the long-run.

For more information on the New York City Council’s Back-to-School campaign:

http://www.council.nyc.gov/html/releases/08_24_10_ged.shtml

For more information on the New York City’s Department of Homeless Services Advantage program:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/html/rent/advntNY_about.shtml

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