SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Educators will be better prepared to meet the needs of students experiencing homelessness under a new law passed by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville.
“Kids facing unstable housing need resources and understanding from those who are responsible for them at school, and it’s important to make sure that school personnel have the training both to know what to look for and what to do,” Stuart said. “That’s why this training is the right thing to do. No child should experience homelessness but, sadly, many do. So, our schools have to be equipped to help them.”
Stuart passed House Bill 3116 which provides for training of all school personnel at least once every two years on the definition of homelessness as set forth in federal law, the signs of homelessness and housing insecurity, the rights of students experiencing homelessness under state and federal law, what steps to take when a homeless or housing insecure student is identified and how to refer that student to the proper school or school district liaison.
Schools may choose to develop their own training, or partner with an outside organization that provides training meeting the specified standards.
The law will be in effect for the 2024-2025 school year.
“Education is one of the surest ways to achieve stability in life as well as upward mobility,” Stuart said. “It follows that kids experiencing homelessness need to have the support and assistance to be able to make the most of their education. Of course, all kids should have that, but some kids need more help than others, and a just society should give it to them.”