What: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) releases findings from a statewide survey of public school districts across Illinois regarding services offered to homeless students.
Issue: Despite enrollment figures showing more than 54,800 homeless students in Illinois schools last year, too many children and teens are going without needed services – more than half of homeless students must cope without needed tutoring, preschool and counseling.
Media Availability: Thursday, February 27, CCH staff whose work focuses on the issues facing homeless students and youth will be available for interviews, by phone or in person, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Interviews on other dates may require an appointment.)
Parents of students experiencing homelessness are available for interviews through CCH contact below.
CCH ran a statewide survey in December 2013 that asked public school districts and Regional Offices of Education to respond about the level of services reaching children and teens identified as homeless students. Sixty-seven percent responded – 36 of 54 sub-grantees under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Key findings include:
· 52% responded that more than half of their homeless students do not receive needed tutoring or access to preschool.
· 56% said that less than half of homeless students received counseling
· 44% said their staffing capacity to identify and enroll homeless students is limited or very limited
· 21% responded that less than half of homeless students get transportation assistance to get to and from school
The Illinois State Board of Education has proposed to restore $3 million in FY15 state funding for grants to school districts for services to homeless students, but the proposal must still be approved by the Governor and the state legislature. Funding was awarded for only one year, during FY09, though homeless enrollment in schools across Illinois has more than doubled over the past five years, to 54,892 last school year (2012-13).
Laurene Heybach, CCH Law Project director
at 312-641-4140 (office)