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Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
October 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!


This campaign will be an opportunity for supporters, old and new, to reach out to friends and family to educate them about the issue of youth homelessness. All are invited to participate, setting a fundraising goal as low as $250. But, if you are unable to join our Hopestretch team, we encourage you to support the campaign with a tax-deductible donation of any size.

Effective October 1, unaccompanied minors ages 14 to 18 can consent to their own routine medical care under a new Illinois law proposed by CCH.

The law ends a significant barrier to accessing medical care for more than 7,000 homeless Illinois minors who are deemed "unaccompanied" because they live separate and apart from a parent or guardian. They include almost 2,000 students identified as unaccompanied by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) last school year.

CCH advocated for the measure after school and health clinic officials told our staff of being required to turn away teens for easily treatable issues - such as asthma, a fever, minor cuts, and sprains - because the teens lacked a parent or guardian to sign a health care consent form. Read more HERE.

by Mike Fritz 

Rashema Melson lived for most of the last three years in a Washington D.C. shelter – known as DC General – before graduating as valedictorian from Anacostia High School in June. As the nation struggles to address an upsurge in homeless students, the NewsHour’s American Graduate team spent a day with Melson as she began her first year of classes at Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship.

Melson was one of more than 1.2 million homeless students enrolled in public preschools and K-12 schools last year, according to data released last month by the Department of Education. Roughly 76,000 of those students were thought to be living without parents and guardians. [...]

Some states like Illinois are struggling to keep track of the growing number of homeless students. Nearly 60,000 Illinois students are now identified as being homeless, more than double the number reported five years ago, said Patricia Nix-Hodes, the director of the Law Project for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

“Year after year, we are seeing dramatically increasing numbers of students in homeless situations,” Nix-Hodes said. “And we have a long way to go to get accurate data on unaccompanied youth.”

Read the full story HERE.

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.