Friday, September 6, 2019

16,000 homeless CPS students

That is a sad statistic and helps me recognize the many issues that CPS students bring with them to class. I can imagine there are those who are embarrassed by their circumstances, however, all they have to do is reach out.

From today's Tribune:
Students in temporary living situations rarely self-identify, according to advocates. Lockett, now 22, said he didn’t like his classmates and teachers to know he was homeless. But his situation is hardly unique.

More than 16,450 Chicago Public Schools students didn’t have a permanent home during the 2018-19 school year, according to numbers released Thursday by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Most were in temporary living situations, meaning they stayed in shelters, motels, cars or, in about 90% of the cases, “doubled up” with others, according to the coalition. Doubling up doesn’t generally meet the federal government’s definition of homelessness, so people in those situations don’t qualify for federal programs for those without homes.

About half of the city’s homeless students were in 10 of the city’s 50 wards, according to the coalition’s data. At least 865 were believed to be living in Ald. Walter Burnett’s 27th Ward. Burnett spoke at a homeless coalition news conference Thursday at City Hall to plug a proposed increase to the real estate transfer tax on properties worth more than $1 million to address the situation.

“We need to put the people first," Burnett said. “We need to help the needy and not the greedy.”

The advocates’ proposed 1.2 percentage point increase could generate about $150 million that could be used to reduce homelessness. The coalition said that’s 10 times as much funding as what’s already dedicated to the issue.

During her campaign, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she supported an additional tax on expensive property sales to direct more money to homelessness. But she has also said City Hall is on a different timeline than the homeless coalition. And she’s also suggested raising the transfer tax to help fill this year’s budget hole.

The coalition wants a referendum on the tax increase on the March ballot.