For students who do not live in permanent housing, attending school and staying on track for their grade can present challenges on many levels and across different areas.
CPS schools and networks provide assistance in removing these barriers to qualified Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS), including the provisions of services such as transportation, school uniforms, school supplies, fee waivers, and referrals to community resources.
To find out if your student and family are eligible for STLS services, contact the STLS Liaison at your school. Every CPS school, including charter schools and options schools, has an STLS Liaison.
Students in many different living situations are eligible for services through STLS. If a student lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, then he or she is eligible for STLS services.
To learn more about STLS eligibility, view our FAQs.
Students in temporary living situations can:
- Immediately enroll in school (see school enrollment options below), even if he or she lacks health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, proof of residency, or any other documentation normally required for school enrollment
- Enroll without an adult present, if qualified as Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, as determined by the STLS Liaison
The options for school enrollment students in temporary living situations have include the right to enroll in either
- (1) his/her school of origin (The school of origin is the school the student attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the student was last enrolled) or
- (2) any school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.
CPS provides transportation assistance to homeless students who continue their education at their school of origin, including students temporarily residing outside of Chicago due homelessness.
Two types of transportation are generally available to help students enrolled in STLS and eligible for transportation travel to and from their school of origin and school-related activities:
CTA: For seventh through 12th grades, only students receive Ventra cards for CTA transportation. For students in sixth grade and younger, both the student and parent or primary caregiver receive Ventra cards.
Yellow School Bus: If an adult is unavailable to accompany a child in sixth grade or younger on CTA transportation, the student and/or parent/guardian can apply for hardship transportation, which means CPS will arrange for yellow school bus service to transport students to and from school.
To learn more, see this STLS Information on Transportation Assistance PDF.
Other Program Benefits
School Fees: School-related fees are waived for all students enrolled in the STLS program.
Tutoring: Students in temporary living situations qualify for after-school tutoring beyond that offered to other students.
Other Services: Students who qualify for the STLS program may also receive free uniforms, free school supplies, free school meals, and low-cost or free medical referrals.
- Notice of Rights of Homeless Students [ English ]
- STLS Frequently Asked Questions [ English ]
- Dispute Resolution Forms and Guidelines for Enrollment, School Selection, Eligibility, and Transportation Issues [ English ]
Information for students and parents/guardians about appealing a decision made at the local school level or by the STLS Department concerning enrollment, eligibility, school selection or transportation.
- Streetlight chicago: Homeless Youths Resource Guide
Provides up-to-date information on shelters, health clinics, emergency beds, mental health services, and more.
- Homeless Families Resource Guide
Provides answers to questions about housing, food, health care, legal aid, public assistance, and other resources.
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Offers legal assistance and advocacy to homeless families and unaccompanied youth.
Offers after school homework assistance to students living in shelters.
- City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
Provides direct assistance to individuals and families and serves as a connection to a network of community-based organizations, social service providers and institutions.
- Chicago Coordinated Entry System
If you are homeless or living in a shelter, you can be assessed for housing through the city's Coordinated Entry System (CES). The housing available through CES includes permanent supportive housing and permanent housing with short-term supports.
- Greater Chicago Food Depository
Search food pantries in Chicago by zip code.
- National Runaway Safeline
Hotline provides resources and information for students who are thinking about or have run away from home.