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The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced $38 million in federal funding to identify and support students experiencing housing insecurity. The funding will bolster schools’ efforts to identify students in temporary living situations and provide them with services.
Students in many different living situations qualify for extra resources. The additional funding announced today will help schools overcome barriers to identifying students for services, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools statewide identified 17 percent fewer students to receive services related to housing insecurity last school year compared to the year before. The number of students identified statewide dropped from 38,898 to 32,301.
“For so many students, housing insecurity is an invisible burden that they carry to the classroom every day,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With this new funding, our schools will be able to reach more students experiencing housing insecurity and ensure they receive the support they need. All of our children deserve a quality education, and that means safe and nurturing environments both in and out of the classroom.”
“So many families have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic. We hope to increase understanding among parents and educators that students in many different living situations can qualify for and benefit from this funding,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala, “Living with friends or relatives, staying in motels or other short-term housing, or having to move out due to unsafe conditions or a disaster like flooding or fire – students and families in any of these circumstances are entitled to extra money to ensure they can continue to participate fully in all the opportunities school has to offer, as well as support for any trauma they may be going through.”
A new study by the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab found that housing insecurity can affect students’ grade point averages, attendance rates, and graduation rates. The extra funding for schools will help ensure students experiencing housing insecurity have equitable opportunities by covering the costs of school fees and school supplies; transportation to and from school, extracurricular activities, and appointments; counseling; and other supports.
ISBE has already distributed $6 million to the state’s regional lead area liaisons and allocated $6 million in regular federal funding for students experiencing housing insecurity. An additional $24 million will go directly to school districts to boost their efforts to identify students who quality for extra services due to housing insecurity. ISBE will use the remaining $2 million to provide professional development to educators and community partners to increase understanding about the impact housing insecurity has on students.
Students experiencing housing insecurity have the right to stay in their school of origin or choose to attend the school where they are staying. Students and families with questions about whether or not they qualify for extra services can call ISBE’s hotline at 1-800- 215-6379 or learn more at www.isbe.net/homeless.
View each local education agency’s allocation. Per federal guidance, LEAs allocated less than $5,000 in funding as stipulated by the formula are not eligible for the subgrant on their own. To receive a subgrant, the LEA must join a consortium of LEAs in which the sum of its members’ allocations meets the $5,000 threshold.