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When he was a homeless freshman at the University of Illinois Springfield, Chicagoan Prince Washington said he had to look for someone who could help find a place to stay.
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He eventually did in the form of the vice chancellor for student affairs, the late Clarice Ford, who helped him get a job on a campus cleaning crew so he would have housing during the summer break. I don't really have any family I could fall back on. And I don't have a lot of money. And, you know, what can I do just to have a roof over my head when you guys expect us to be gone for these periods.
Starting next August, under a law passed unanimously in the General Assembly and ed last week by Gov. Pritzker, all public and private post-secondary institutions — two and four-year colleges and vocational, technical and business schools -- will have to deate someone as a liaison to assist homeless students.
High school districts in Illinois have had liaisons to help homeless kids under a federal law — the McKinney-Vento Act — with issues like enrollment, access to resources and transportation.
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There was no such no requirement to help college students in Illinois. The new law changes that situation.
State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton, a lawmaker from Chicago suburb Western Springs, said she was eager to take on the legislation because she remembers hosting homeless student friends of her then-college age children. Under the new law, higher education institutions must hire a specific employee deated as a liaison if they have at least a 2 percent homeless student enrollment. Those with an estimated a lower homeless population can deate an existing employee to connect students to services such as financial aid and counseling.
The law also requires a count of homeless students. Alyssa Phillips, an attorney at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and Glowiak Hilton said many institutions underestimate their homeless students. Search Query Show Search. Illinois Issues. Community Voices.
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About 10 states have similar laws. Maureen Foertsch McKinney. Maureen Foertsch McKinney is lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen ed the Illinois Issues in as projects editor.
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ly, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in with a bachelor's in journalism.
She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield. See stories by Maureen Foertsch McKinney. Related Stories.