Chicago Public Schools will provide eligible families in need with $500 microgrants to help with housing costs. Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the Chicago Families Forward Fund on September 12th. The new program will provide $9 million in one-time microgrants to 18,000 CPS students without stable housing. The funds are part of the $1.8 billion that Chicago Public Schools received under the CARES Act.
CPS students classified as students in temporary living situations are eligible for a one-time $500 microgrant. Families with multiple children will receive a grant for each eligible child. Grants will be issued in check form and available for pick up at the student’s school. The microgrants will be issued by the end of the fall semester.
José Torres, CPS Interim Chief Executive Officer, released a statement discussing the homelessness that some CPS students face stating that they were “disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. “Providing them with additional financial assistance will go a long way in helping them access the additional support they need,” said Torres.
Lightfoot also released a statement highlighting the struggles some families have faced. “Throughout this pandemic, our students and their families have experienced a number of traumas, including the loss of employment, housing, and even loved ones.”
The Mayor went on to talk about the city’s mission to address these issues while also providing much-needed resources. “The Chicago Families Forward Fund will serve as a meaningful next step in our citywide mission of addressing these traumas and further allow us to provide residents of all ages with the resources they need to thrive.”
Statistics show that 98% of CPS students of color experience homelessness. City officials say the grants will help CPS families through some financial hardships. They also hope the grants will helps students reconnect with their school community.
For more information and to check your eligibility go to cps.edu/familiesforwardfund. Paper registration forms are also available at CPS schools.
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer and journalist based in Chicago. Find her on social @beboldshineon.