Homelessness on the rise in the Chicago suburbs

The number of homeless students in the Chicago suburbs has been rising significantly for the past few years. Thousands of teens are preoccupied about where they are going to live, rather than their focus being on school.

Northern Cook County along with DuPage and Lake Counties, have seen the most increase than the rest. In Northwest suburban Cook County the homelessness rate has risen by 55 percent in the past two years with 1,850 students being homeless. In DuPage and Lake Counties, the rate is more than 35 percent per county, with a total of 2,062 students being homeless in both counties.

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the state counts as homeless students those who are living with relatives or another family as well as those living in motels, shelters or other temporary conditions because of financial hardship or loss of housing.

According to experts, the growth of homeless students is due to the slow recovery of the economy, along with loss of jobs, divorce, or death of parents or some other family dysfunctions.  Schools are making great efforts to identify homeless students with families. Though the number of homeless students in the suburbs has been rising significantly, the federal funding has been the same since 2006-2007. Illinois contributed $3 million to schools in 2009, and after that no more funding was given to schools.

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Photo Credit : Tribune