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Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

February 23, 2018

The CCH Law Project has secured a significant settlement on behalf of our client, Robert Henderson, in the first substantive case filed under the Illinois Bill of Rights for the Homeless Act. It was a proud moment for us, and a victory for the rights of people who experience homelessness in Chicago.

Illinois was the second state in the U.S. to adopt a Homeless Bill of Rights, enacted in 2013 after advocacy by CCH. A legal intern at the time, I remember the day that Gov. Pat Quinn came to CCH’s office to sign the act into law. 

UPDATE since the publication of this article on the February 7: In a partial victory for students, families, and community members who took action against closing all four high schools in Englewood, CPS recently revised its proposal. CPS now proposes to close only one school, Robeson, this year, while phasing out the remaining three schools. Current students will be allowed continue at the three schools until they graduate. 

Englewood School Closures Could Harm Homeless CPS Students, Advocates Say

By Matt Masterson

54,669 students were identified as homeless last year by the Illinois State Board of Education. More than a quarter of those, or about 15,000 students, are currently enrolled in Chicago Public Schools.

At Paul Robeson High School in Englewood, more than a quarter of the 130 or so students are homeless, according to district data. That’s more than six times the CPS average. One in four students at TEAM Englewood Community Academy are homeless, too, as are about one out of every five students at Hope College Prep, also in Englewood. 

Those students could be among the 400-plus in Englewood looking for a new school this fall if the Chicago Board of Education moves ahead with a proposal to shutter four Englewood high schools in June – more than a year before construction of a new “state-of-the-art” high school on the Robeson campus will be completed. 

Homeless advocates say the proposed closings would negatively impact dozens of students in temporary living situations.

“A lot of times school is the only stable thing in a homeless student’s life,” said Patricia Nix-Hodes, who heads The Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

“We felt there’s a very disproportionate impact on these students who are already quite vulnerable, who often already have had numerous school changes due to their residential mobility.”

Jim Picchetti, CCH's State Network senior organizer, is in Central Europe this month through a training exchange program.

Sponsored by the Great Lakes Consortium (GLC) for International Training and Development, the exchange trades community organizers from the U.S. and Central Europe each year. CCH has sent organizers abroad for six trainings and hosted 11 interns through the GLC program.

Jim will offer follow-up training to former CCH interns working in Hungary and Slovakia.


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