Homeless children and youth in Illinois have the right under state and federal law to receive supports from their school districts to help them enroll, prevent school changes, and succeed in school. The federal government supplies some resources for school districts to achieve these goals, but the resources are far from adequate.
A December 2013 statewide survey found that in a majority of school districts, more than half of homeless students who needed support were not getting the following services:
- 52% said that more than half of homeless students did not receive tutoring
- 52% said that more than half of homeless children that needed preschool did not access it.
- 56% said that more than half of students did not receive counseling
- 58% said that more than half of students did not receive help with public benefits
- 50% said that more than half of students did not receive help with long-term housing
- 44% said their capacity to identify and enroll homeless children and youth not in school was limited to very limited.
The survey findings indicate a strong need for more resources. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless advocates that the state of Illinois restore $3 million in school grant funding to assist the growing and unmet needs of homeless students.