Chicago schools reopen Tuesday: Free CTA rides, legal aid available for homeless families facing school issues

To encourage attendance when Chicago Public Schools reopen this Tuesday, September 3, the CTA is again offering free rides to school for all CPS students. Students and adults accompanying them can ride for free on the first day of classes.

As always, the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless will offer free legal aid and advice to city and suburban families and students experiencing homelessness if they encounter issues upon their return to school. Those recognized as homeless includes households living in shelters or doubled-up in someone else’s home.

Common issues include being allowed to remain in the original school attended before becoming homeless, being allowed to enroll in the school nearest where you now live, or being recognized as homeless and entitled to transportation assistance.

For help or information, call the Law Project, call 1 (800) 940-1119 during weekday office hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The staff of the Law Project ran extensive outreach this summer at a dozen back-to-school fairs in the city and suburbs.

At a recent CPS training, leader Bridgette Barber, Attorney Alyssa Phillips, and Organizer Bisma Shoukat

Equal Justice Works Attorney Alyssa Phillips also managed the Law Project’s assistance at eight CPS trainings for over 900 homeless liaisons and school clerks. Working with CCH organizers Bisma Shoukat and Claudia Cabrera, she recruited service providers to participate in the August trainings, including New Moms, The Night Ministry, and Erie Family Health Center.

Alyssa also explained the laws protecting the educational rights and options for homeless children and teens under state and federal laws. CCH parent leaders talked to school staff about their own experiences, Alyssa said, “explaining what was helpful and what was hurtful” when working with schools on behalf of their children or grandchildren.

Kudos to parent leaders Bridgette Barber, Margaret Bingham, Marilyn Escoe,  Pat Franklin, and Maxica Williams for the time they gave to these trainings.

– Anne Bowhay, Media