Students in any of the following situations are considered eligible for services and should contact school administration, their family advocate, or the program coordinator, Ms. Elizabeth Cruz (773.922.7542). Our coordinator ensures all below policies are followed in regards to school enrollment, handling records issues, transportation, fee waivers and all other rights of the student per this policy.
1. sharing housing of other persons due to the loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled up”); 2. living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or camping ground due to lack of alternative, adequate accommodations; 3. living in an emergency or transitional shelter; 4. living in a car, park, public place, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station or similar setting; 5. having a primary nighttime residence that is a private or public space not designated or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation; 6. abandoned in a hospital; 7. migratory children living in any of the circumstances described above; 8. youth not in the custody of a parent/guardian (unaccompanied youth) of any age, in one of the above settings.
Transportation Services Policy
Christopher House shall ensure that transportation will be provided to homeless children or youths who chose to continue attending their school of origin. If a child or youth becomes homeless and chooses to remain in the student’s school of origin, each school upon learning of the student’s homelessness, must notify the student and parent of the availability of transportation services, if such services are necessary for the homeless child or youth to continue attendance at the school of origin. If such services are necessary, the school will strive to provide CTA transportation assistance to the school of origin immediately upon request but no later than three school days of the request. If a student becomes permanently housed and is receiving transportation to the school of origin, the student will be entitled to transportation until the end of the school year during which he/she becomes permanently housed. The parents of students in grades PK-6 who are eligible for transportation will also receive public transportation assistance to enable them to accompany their child to/from school and school related activities, including but not limited to extracurricular activities, report card pick-up, IEP meetings, graduation, and parent teacher conferences, on the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Christopher House staff have the right to verify whether CTA assistance provided to a parent is actually used to transport the homeless child to/from school. In any case which a parent fails to accompany a homeless child on a regular basis despite provision of CTA assistance, the school may provide the parent with daily CTA assistance that the parent will pick-up at the child’s school. Any parent of students in grades PK-6 who are eligible for transportation and are denied CTA assistance pursuant to this policy has the right to file a dispute as described in Section J below.
A homeless child or youth is entitled to immediate enrollment at any of the following: 1. the school in which the student was enrolled when permanently housed, including a preschool (school of origin as defined under McKinney-Vento and IEHCA); 2. the school in which the student was last enrolled, including a preschool (school of origin as defined under McKinney-Vento and IEHCA); or 3. any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the homeless child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend. Homeless child or youth shall be immediately enrolled in the school of school of origin (D1 or D2) or meeting the definition of “school” in D3 even if the student is unable to produce health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, or proof of residence. Once enrolled, a homeless child or youth is allowed to remain enrolled in the selected school for as long as the child remains homeless or if the child becomes permanently housed, until the end of the school year. For 9th grade students who are homeless and were homeless in 8th grade, the feeder high school for the 8th grade school of origin becomes the school of origin for 9th grade. If a homeless student’s elementary school of origin does not go through 8th grade, the feeder elementary school for the next grade becomes the student’s school of origin. A homeless child or youth has the right to apply to charter schools, selective enrollment schools, magnet schools, and all other CPS programs in the same manner as students who are permanently housed.
Transportation assistance is provided to students and parents for the educational purpose of transporting
students to and from school and school activities. Students and parents receiving transportation
assistance in the form of CTA Ventra cards must adhere to the terms of the Ventra User Agreement and
comply with all other CTA rules and regulations. The school has the right to audit the use of the CTA
Ventra cards and to investigate whether a student or parent of a student misused a Ventra card (e.g. use
on a non-attendance day for non-school related activities, use during school hours other than to transport
to/from school, re-sell the card, etc.).
Hardship Transportation: If the parent is unable to accompany his/her child on public transportation to
their school of origin due to a hardship, the parent and/or unaccompanied youth may apply for hardship
transportation service by submitting documentation or affidavit of the parent’s inability to transport the
student. The school will strive to provide hardship transportation as soon as possible but no later than
ten school days of approval of the request. While awaiting hardship transportation to the school of origin,
the student and parent will receive CTA transportation support. Hardship for purposes of this policy
- The parent is employed or enrolled in and attending a bona fide job training or education
program which precludes the parent from transporting the parent’s child(ren) to/from
- The parent is mentally or physically disabled and such disability precludes the parent
from transporting the parent’s child(ren) to/from school; OR
- The parent is responsible for transporting the parent’s children to schools at different
- The parent resides in a shelter or similar facility which will not permit the parent to leave
to transport the child(ren) to/from school; OR
- The parent is required by court order, Department of Children and Family Services
(DCFS) or a DCFS contract agency to engage in services which prohibit the parent from
transporting the child(ren) to/from school; OR
- There is other good cause to find that a hardship exists which warrants the provision of
alternative transportation; AND
- For each hardship defined above, the school may verify the information supporting such
hardship. If the school is unable to verify the hardship, then the parent is required to
execute an affidavit asserting the truth of the facts supporting the existence of hardship.
Any parent determined to have provided false information for the purpose of securing
hardship transportation under this policy may be denied such transportation.
If a homeless student’s temporary residence is outside the City of Chicago and the student continues to
attend the student’s CPS school of origin or the student’s temporary residence is in the City of Chicago
and the student continues to attend the student’s school of origin in another Illinois school district, Christopher House will collaborate with the school district in which the homeless child or youth is living or attending to apportion the responsibility and costs for providing transportation to and from the school of origin, and school related activities, including but not limited to extracurricular activities, report card pick-up, IEP meetings, graduation, and parent teacher conferences. Students who are homeless and qualify for transportation under another CPS District program, such as pursuant to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Options for Knowledge, will be provided such transportation as their non-homeless peers.
Fee Waivers, School Supplies, Uniforms, Tutoring, and Computer and Internet Access
To ensure continued enrollment in school and school activities, homeless students enrolled in the school shall have access to adequate and appropriate school supplies and school uniforms, waiver of school fees consistent with the CPS Fee Waiver Policy, free school meals, and tutoring services beyond those provided to all
students of at least one hour per week upon request. The school shall assist the family of each homeless student who is unable to supply the student’s own uniform to obtain a minimum of two sets of uniforms or appropriate school clothing per year to avoid stigmatization and to allow for proper hygiene and washing of uniforms. All students shall be provided a school-issued computer or device and provided with internet access through the CPS District access program.
The CEO shall ensure a fair and expeditious process for resolving disputes between a school and any homeless child, parent or
youth regarding enrollment, eligibility, school selection and/or transportation. The process shall ensure:
- The parent/unaccompanied youth is given a copy of the STLS Explanation of Dispute Resolution
Process which explains in detail how the dispute resolution process works and includes referrals to
free and low cost legal assistance;
- The parent/unaccompanied youth is given a completed and signed copy of the STLS Dispute
Notification form which is completed by the school and/or the STLS Department and provides written
notification of the rationale for the decision;
- The parent/unaccompanied youth is given a copy of the STLS Parent/Unaccompanied Youth Dispute
Resolution Appeal form;
- The school and/or District STLS Liaison will assist the parent/unaccompanied youth in completing the
STLS Parent/ Unaccompanied Youth Dispute Resolution Appeal forms;
- The school notifies the District STLS Liaison to enable him/her to contact the parent/unaccompanied
youth in an attempt to resolve the dispute, inform parents of the right to an in-person meeting with the
District STLS Liaison, and ensure the dispute process is followed appropriately;
- A decision on each dispute resolution request shall be timely issued in writing by the CEO or
designee and given to the parent/unaccompanied youth in a manner and form understandable to the
parent or unaccompanied homeless youth using the CPS Final Decision Regarding Dispute for
Students in Temporary Living Situations form which includes how an appeal may be made to the
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Homeless Education Program and lists referrals to free and
low cost legal assistance;
- If the parent or unaccompanied youth disagrees with the District’s final decision regarding enrollment
or transportation, parent or unaccompanied youth notifies the District STLS Liaison who then submits
an appeal to the ISBE Homeless Education Program on the parent’s/unaccompanied youth’s behalf
for a fair and impartial hearing with an ombudsperson appointed by ISBE;
- During the dispute resolution process, the student must be immediately enrolled in the school of
origin (Sections D1 or D2 above) or the “school” which meets the definition in Section D3 above
and/or provided transportation until the dispute is resolved.
- The procedures for submitting a request for dispute resolution and for appealing a dispute resolution
decision shall be posted on the District’s website.
Nothing in this policy prevents a parent or unaccompanied youth from filing a dispute directly with ISBE through the state’s homeless education dispute resolution process.
Any individual alleging the abridgement of the educational rights of homeless children or youth by CPS, other than denial of enrollment, eligibility, school selection or transportation which is covered in Section J above, such as denial of school fee waiver, or raising any issue of discrimination, such as unfair treatment of student or family because of their homelessness, should contact the CPS STLS Department at (773) 553-2242, or fax at (773) 553-2182 or email at STLSInformation@cps.edu for assistance in addressing their complaint. Any other questions, inquiries regarding how to access the STLS program and/or services, should also be directed to the CPS STLS Department.
Notification: Twice per year, the Principal will direct a designee to provide written notice to all students enrolled in Christopher House and their parents containing information regarding the educational rights of homeless children and youth under this policy and under the federal and state law. The Principal will ensure this notice is distributed to families and posted in a prominent location within the school.
Support and Oversight: The Principal or designee together with the school’s STLS Liaison shall establish all necessary forms, timelines, annual notices, procedures, protocols and webpages for the effective implementation and oversight of this policy. The Principal or designee together with the school’s STLS liaison may further establish guidelines for evaluating charter school compliance with McKinney Vento and IEHCA as part of their annual legal compliance review. The Principal shall provide oversight to ensure the implementation of all aspects of this policy at his/her school, including identification of homeless students, immediate enrollment, including full participation in school related activities and provision of required notifications.
Terms: All terms used in this policy and on the STLS page of the District’s website shall be interpreted in accordance with McKinney-Vento and the IEHCA. Notwithstanding anything in this policy to the contrary, this policy is not intended to expand or limit rights or obligations created by McKinney-Vento or IEHCA.