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Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
June 17, 2014

The Hopestretch for homeless youth, our two-month campaign to raise $59,112 -the number of students identified as homeless by Illinois public schools last year - is now is full swing.

This funding supports our work to prevent and end youth homelessness. This is an opportunity for supporters of CCH to get more involved by raising awareness and funds for this very important work. Please join the campaign now!

If you are unable to join our Hopestretch team, we encourage you to support the campaign with a tax-deductible donation of any size!

On the evening of June 26, CCH is presenting renewable $2,000 college scholarships to the following five Chicago Public School students who academically achieved throughout high school while coping with homelessness:

Mahalia Crawford graduated with a weighted grade point average (GPA) of 4.0 from Kelly High School in the Brighton Park neighborhood. She was active in the school choir, the Mikva Challenge, Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, Alliance for Educational Justice, and South-West Organizing Project (SWOP). Mahalia plans to major in health administration at Texas Southern University in Houston, from which she also won scholarship assistance.

Joseph Jones was ranked 4th in his class at Englewood’s Harper High School, with a 3.62 weighted GPA. Active in a school leadership program called EMBARC, Joseph was a featured speaker at Chicago Ideas Week last fall, and he is interning with the program this summer He plans to major in business and cultural speech at Western Illinois University.

Kristen Lang was involved in many extracurricular activities at Percy Julian High School in the Washington Heights neighborhood. Through a work-study internship at the Northern Trust, Kristen decided to study to become a certified public accountant. With a weighted GPA of 3.5, Kristen also won college aid to attend Benedict College, an historically black liberal arts college in Columbia, South Carolina.

Judge Moore was active throughout high school on the Chicago Knights robotics team, after spending two middle school years on the First LEGO League robotics team. Judge plans to study computer engineering at the University of Illinois-Chicago. At Lincoln Park High School, Judge earned a weighted GPA of 4.0.

Joseph Perez earned a 3.2 weighted GPA at Amundsen High School in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. He competed on the football and swim team, and was involved in the art and film clubs, Junior ROTC, and Mercy for Animals. To help support himself, Joseph earned money drawing portraits at Lincoln Park Zoo. With further help from a university scholarship, Joseph plans to major in health sciences at DePaul University. Read More

On May 21, the Illinois Senate voted unanimously (57-0) to pass a state bill that will allow unaccompanied minors to consent to their own health care for non-emergency illnesses and injuries. 
House Bill 4501 now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn for his consideration. The bill passed the Illinois House unanimously, on a 113-0 vote in April.

Graham Bowman, an Equal Justice Works attorney at CCH, who drafted a bill to amend the Minors Consent to Medical Procedures Act explained
, “From talking to health care providers in the schools and staff at youth programs, it became clear to us that there is a lot of frustration.

“Health care professionals ready to treat sick kids had to turn away minors who lacked a parent or guardian to sign their consent form. They had to stand by as kids got sicker from easily-treatable conditions, like strep throat or asthma. In one case, a 17-year-old student with an injured ankle was unable to get an examination, even though she supports herself by working as a waitress at night. One doctor told me that some 20% to 30% of the students at one of her school clinics are homeless and would have to be turned away.” Read More

If you are homeless or at-risk and have a legal question, call the CCH Law Project's toll-free helpline: 
(800) 940-1119.

This includes school issues, such as enrollment and denial of school fee waivers. Homeless students include those doubled-up in the homes of others.