Year-end data on homeless enrollment in Chicago and Illinois schools: 4% increase statewide

Year-end data on homeless enrollment in the Chicago Public Schools and public schools statewide have been released. This includes 56,881 homeless students identified in Illinois public schools in 2017-18, a year’s increase of 4%.

The Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless tracks enrollment data as advocates for homeless students and youth. CCH attorneys represent students in the city and suburbs on issues that include immediate enrollment, access to school services and transportation assistance, and school fee waivers.

According to the CPS office of Students in Temporary Living Situations, 17,894 homeless Chicago children and teens attended CPS-run schools in the 2017-2018 school year.

This is 1.2%, or 223 students, fewer than the prior school year, but total CPS enrollment also dropped. The share of homeless students enrolled in CPS remains about the same, at 4.8% of total enrollment.

Meanwhile, Illinois public school districts reported that they identified 56,881 homeless students last school year, an increase of 2,212 or 4%, per a new report from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Outside of Chicago, school districts with the highest number of homeless students were:

  • Cook County: Harvey District 152, 704 students; South Holland District 150, 307; Palatine District 15, 161; Wheeling District 21, 259; (Palatine) High School District 211, 236; (Arlington Heights) High School District 214, 201; Evanston Township District 202, 201.
  • Kane County: (Elgin) Unit District U-46, 887; Aurora East Unit District 131, 446; (Algonquin) Unit District 300, 242; Aurora West Unit District 129, 233.
  • Lake County: Waukegan District 60, 520; Round Lake District 116, 151; North Chicago District 187, 133.
  • Will County: Valley View District 365U, 362; Joliet District 86, 340; Plainfield District 202, 292; Crete-Monee District 201U, 155.
  • DuPage County: Indian Prairie District 204, 235; West Chicago District 33, 206; Naperville District 203, 165; (Wheaton) Unit District 200, 154.
  • Outstate: Rockford District 205, 2,771; Peoria District 150, 654; East St. Louis District 189, 478; Cahokia District 187, 424; Springfield District 186, 397; Decatur District 61, 303; Champaign District 4, 293; Mount Vernon District 80, 248; Collinsville District 10, 240; Granite City District 9, 228; Marion District 2, 219; Kankakee District 111, 209; Belleville District 118, 193; Danville District 118, 174.

In Chicago, CPS data shows that 88% of homeless CPS students live doubled-up in the homes of others due to hardship, usually in overcrowded conditions. Another 10.7%, or 1,918 students, lived in shelters. Less than 1% of students lived in motels (151), in a park or other public place (52), or in a temporary foster care placement (12).

Other CPS data shows that 11.4% (2,041) were “unaccompanied youth,” defined as teens who are homeless and living on their own, without a parent or guardian.

Chicago’s homeless students are overwhelmingly children of color, at 98.3%. The demographics show 81.2% of students were black, 15.6% Latinx, 1.7% white, and 1.5% other ethnicities.

Another 23.4% of students were diagnosed with disabilities or developmental delays.

-Claire Sloss and Anne Bowhay, Media