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“A student should be focused on learning and growing as their reach toward a better future." - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign)

SPRINGFIELD – School districts will now be allowed to help students who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless under a plan currently in the Illinois Senate.

Under House Bill 261, schools will have the option to use their own transportation funds to provide housing assistance to students in need if they determine it will be more cost-efficient.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is the legislation’s sponsor in the Senate.

“A student should be focused on learning and growing as their reach toward a better future,” Bennett said. “If providing those students in need with stability in housing helps them realize their dreams and is a better alternative for the school, then we should allow schools to adopt necessary measures to do so.”

The Regional Office of Education serving northern Cook County says they spent nearly $1 million in northern Cook County alone on transporting homeless students. Those same funds, they contend, could house up to 40 families.

Finding ways to help students in need has been an issue of great importance in the Champaign-Urbana area. Urbana Public Schools recently announced they would continue free lunch programs through the summer ensuring students are getting the meals they need.

The measure passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now goes before the full Senate for a vote.

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