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Today’s numbers are grim

Thursday, Feb 27, 2014

* From a press conference announcement…

[Chicago Coalition for the Homeless] 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 risen 109% over the past five years.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    And this is one of the many reasons why pension reform was needed.


  2. - independent - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:26 am:

    People don not realize how many school aged youth are homeless, its a big but hidden issue.


  3. - Right Field - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:37 am:

    The 109% increase is just in those that have been identified. Certainly by high school, the homeless work very hard to not be identified as such because of the stigma. A related area, situational poverty, is exploding also. A great deal of needs not being met.


  4. - Union Man - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    Sad for one of the richest countries in the world!


  5. - olddog - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    @ Anonymous 11:23am —

    Agreed. And it’s also one of the many reasons why a graduated income tax is needed.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:41 am:

    Seriously, this is where government is supposed to step up to the plate. How is this not a priority for a Dem governor and GA?


  7. - fed up - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    well I see an oppurtunity for Quinn. He can send his ReV. Friends 50-60million just before the elction to handle “outreach” that way he is assured the street teams have money to get out the vote. no need to keep records this is Illinois we dont need those.


  8. - A guy... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    I can’t figure out how you could appropriately educate homeless students, let alone tutor, counsel or enroll them in pre-school. I’m not even certain how you figure out what school they are supposed to attend. Education is this case would seem to be a symptom of a greater housing problem. There’s got to be a more methodical approach to this. Food, Shelter, Clothing. Then education. This is sad and very difficult. Sounds like we need charter homes to go with charter schools if we can’t make this work with public housing and public schools. Lot of work to do on this one.


  9. - Downstater - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    A state audit released this morning questions 40% of taxpayer dollars spent on community organizations in Chicago and Cook County. Maybe, accountability is warranted.


  10. - train111 - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    Mrs train111 teaches in a school that has had/has homeless students. Some of the stories she tells are heartbreaking. This is in suburban Chicago, and it seems to be more swept under the rug there. We don’t have the same problems as Chicago after all.
    It exists however.


  11. - dupage dan - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    Hmmm, right before an election we get yet another story of folks in need. Not doubting the need, just the juxtaposition. Should we be as jaded and cynical as “fed up” and say it is just another lead up to a $50 million boondoggle?


  12. - Kevin Highland - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    As the parent of a boomerang child that returned with my grandchild, I think the world needs to know that the school district counts my grandchild as homeless. This is because the parent doesn’t have a rental agreement or utilities in her name.

    So while there are likely homeless (living in cars, etc) children, I question the numbers presented due to school age kids & their parents living with relatives.


  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    DD, if you read the post, the problem was identified as far back as FY09. And the grants go to school districts. What connection are you making?


  14. - Bobby Hill - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    As long as we still get our turf football field I am ok with funding the $3M in homeless stuff too.

    /obvious snark.


  15. - Robert - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    I don’t mean to argue that homelessness isn’t an issue for kids — it is. But be careful drawing any conclusion related to statistical analysis of homeless students. In many Chicago suburban districts and even at high achieving city schools, students who live out of district often falsely claim they are “homeless” in order to enroll. It’s a very common occurrence that gets very little attention.


  16. - Wensicia - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    Educating homeless students is especially hard in the suburbs as these families move from community to community and are hard to track without a permanent address or phone number to access.


  17. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    While we’re busy identifying revenue sources to fund a new capital spending bill, how about we also find a way to throw $3 million or even $30 million towards our homeless kids?

    Or we use some of that corporate welfare we’ve been handing out like candy right for the sake of our children rather than our already profitable corporations?

    We can do so much better than this.


  18. - YO - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Agree with A Guy. But this should shed light on the myriad of jobs that people employed in EDUCATION are doing. For many kids, if school is closed they don’t eat. Their free breakfasts and lunches, provided by the school are not available. And anyone would dare to wonder why teachers can’t mass produce Rhodes Scholars? We ask the world of our schools and they are home and family to many kids. To expect learning and achievement of some of these children is asking for the world in spite of the best intentions and efforts of educators. Those who’ve never set foot in a school since their graduation or on parent night/conferences for their own kids are clueless.


  19. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    I’m confident that technology and construction techniques will continue to improve to allow for the construction of taller and taller fences.


  20. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    This is why everyone who mocks clean government types need to look at themselves. Taxpayers would be a lot more willing to fork over money to help homeless schoolkids if they didn’t see stories of multi-million dollar anti-violence programs being used as slush funds, cronies with criminal records getting hired, pols doling out prestigious university scholarships and admission help to contributors, etc. etc. etc. Similarly, it’s not just that public pensions are so high, it’s HOW they got so high: not from good faith negotiations but from politicians who knew the day of reckoning was coming and not only made these indefensible deals anyway, but did so while protecting themselves from political challengers (gerrymandering, campaign finance laws giving more power to the party leaders, refusing to back independents when they did get into office, etc.). How do the Combine Democrats make a case for such worthy programs when they’re already dancing around a promised-to-be temporary income tax hike? You could have a new program for this tomorrow: give Chicago a casino and target all the new revenues for it - see how Mike (via puppet Lou) and Rahm react to that one. The reason Raunner has been successful to-date: he’s offering the free lunch and the voices who should be showing him up and shouting him down are tainted.


  21. - Sunshine - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Not sure if Children’s Homes could exist today the way they used to, but it sounds to me like there is a need for such institutions today. Years back they were for the most part church sponsored, as well as supported by private donations.

    All the homes had their own staff, cafeterias, vegetable farms and many had canneries and cattle/hogs/chickens. All had their own schools.

    Perhaps we should be looking back at what worked? I think their demise was due in great part to government rules and regulations which were cumbersome and restrictive, without benefiting the children or their care.


  22. - Montrose - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    *Hmmm, right before an election we get yet another story of folks in need. Not doubting the need, just the juxtaposition. Should we be as jaded and cynical as “fed up” and say it is just another lead up to a $50 million boondoggle?*

    No. This is budget advocacy. The Coalition is working to make sure this money is in the FY15 budget. They work on this budget issue and many others that impact homelessness every year. The fact that it is an election year is just coincidence.


  23. - olddog - Thursday, Feb 27, 14 @ 5:24 pm:

    @ Sunshine 1:18 pm

    Agreed that we can learn from the past, but if you look back at the actual reasons for the demise of orphanages, I think you’ll find that “government rules and regulations” were pretty low down on the list. Mostly they phased out because of rising prosperity and a growing perception in the early 1900s that there were better ways to care for children than institutionalizing them. The Johns Hopkins Magazine had a good takeout article that explained some of this history in 1996, available at …

    http://www.jhu.edu/jhumag/496web/orphange.html

    In many cases, social service providers branched out to address other needs as the need for orphanages waned in the early 1900s. I know Lutheran Social Services of Illinois started with an orphanage out by the Quad-Cities, and they weren’t the only providers who evolved with changing times.

    http://www.lssi.org/Support/History.aspx

    I don’t want to take away from your main point, though. As government backs away from its commitments, maybe we need to look at a new generation of children’s homes. But knee-jerk rhetoric about “government regulations” won’t add very much to that conversation.


  24. - Sunshine - Friday, Feb 28, 14 @ 8:32 am:

    Good info olddog.

    Actually it isn’t a knee jerk reaction, on my part, regarding government regulations. I experienced it myself along with nearly 500 other Home brothers and sisters, and have watched it progress and eat away at the foundation of a great institution, and many others like it. Our Children’s Home was strong and viable through the 1980s.

    It was real for me and a first hand experience of how good intentioned actions, not properly thought through and followed through, can destroy good institutions. I am but one story.

    Given what we know today and see in action, perhaps it’s time to revisit the concept?


  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 28, 14 @ 8:55 am:

    canon fodder for the prison system,more downstate prison jobs.


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