Homeless youth meet with legislators

State Sen. Heather Steans and State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (shown above) met with the HELLO homeless youth group to discuss the proposed state budget and issues affecting homeless youth.

Fourteen youth at Tuesday night’s meeting shared stories and spoke of the barriers homeless youth face here in Chicago. The barriers include limited access to age-appropriate youth shelter beds, challenges to attending and succeeding in high school and college without stable housing, and the lack of transportation and drop-in resources. 

The youths asked the legislators to fight for more state-supported resources for homeless youth programs and homeless education. Both Sen. Steans and Rep. Feigenholtz confirmed their commitment to supporting homeless youth in their legislative work. The Illinois State Board of Education recommended $1 million for state grants to support school districts serving homeless students in FY 2013, but it was omitted from the governor’s proposed budget.

Now in its 8th year, the HELLO group is one of the longest running groups of its kind in the U.S. The group is co-run by the CCH Youth Futures mobile legal clinic and by The Night Ministry, and a newer partner, the Lakeview Action Coalition. It meets every Tuesday evening at the Broadway Youth Center, 3179 N. Broadway.

– Beth Cunningham, Youth Attorney