Chicago Public School layoffs hit homeless students

Chicago Public School layoffs of more than 500 teachers and 500 support staff will disproportionately impact homeless students. Last school year, CPS identified 18,831 homeless students, which was 4.8% of its total enrollment.

Homelessness often has significant negative impacts on students — academically, socially, and emotionally. Homeless students face greater barriers to enrollment, attendance, and success in school than their housed peers. 

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) took a closer look at the 19 schools hardest hit by the layoffs announced August 8. In these schools, which lost eight (8) or more staff, we found:

* Six (31.5%) of the 19 highly impacted schools had more than 80 homeless students enrolled last school year. But schools with 80 or more homeless students comprise only 7% of all CPS schools.

* On average, the homeless enrollment of these highly impacted schools was more than 10%.

* Nearly 5.5% of the total number of homeless students were enrolled in a highly impacted school. Only 4% of the overall CPS population is in a highly impacted school. Meaning, homeless students are 38% more likely to attend a highly impacted school than their housed peers.

School staff, including liaisons for homeless students, teachers, social workers, counselors and other staff, provide critical service to support the success of homeless children and youth. Students living in shelters and other temporary living situations will be harmed by the loss of experienced teachers and staff and bigger class sizes as a result of these layoffs.

Cutting services to highly vulnerable homeless children and youth is the wrong place to cut.

Highly Impact Schools-Website

CCH used layoff data from the Chicago Tribune’s CPS Layoffs by School to do its analysis.

-By Hannah Willage, Associate Director of Organizing, and Patricia Nix-Hodes, Director of the Law Project, with contributions by Community Organizer Jayme Robinson.