Staff of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless ( CCH ) will be among the presenters at the upcoming conference of the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.
Called "Together in the Heartland," the conference will train hundreds of youth service providers, educators, and advocates to work effectively with children and teens experiencing homelessness. The conference runs Sunday, Oct. 29 through Tuesday, Oct. 31 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Associate Law Project Director Beth Malik will deliver the conference's opening remarks Sunday ( 8:10 a.m. ). In her 10 years leading CCH's Youth Futures mobile legal aid clinic, Ms. Malik has represented thousands of homeless Chicago youth with civil legal needs, including access to schools and shelter.
The CCH-managed HomeWorks campaign will be explained in a Sunday session at 2:45 p.m. Panelists are Law Project Director Patricia Nix-Hodes, Associate Policy Director Mary Tarullo, Associate Organizing Director Hannah Willage, and Education Committee members Ashley Allen and Marilyn Escoe.
They will discuss how HomeWorks advocated for a stronger homeless education policy, adopted in 2016 by the Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ). They will also explain campaign advocacy to create a program that this school year will house 100 homeless families from six Chicago elementary schools. Called Housing Support for CPS Families in Transition, or FIT, it is the first city-funded Chicago housing program to include homeless families that live doubled-up with relatives or friends.
HomeWorks partners are the AIDS Foundation, Beacon Therapeutic, Catholic Charities, CSH, Facing Forward to End Homelessness, Heartland Alliance, Primo Center for Women and Children, and Unity Parenting and Counseling.
In a Tuesday session, ( 10:30 a.m. ), CCH attorneys will discuss legal and legislative barriers that restrict homeless children's access to healthcare, housing, education, legal identification, and public benefits. They'll also talk about CCH advocacy to allow unaccompanied minors to consent to their own healthcare, and securing local and state legislation providing free birth records to homeless people in Cook County and in Illinois.
Panelists will be Beth Malik, Staff Attorney Diane O'Connell, and Youth Health Attorney Tanya Gassenheimer.
Information on the conference is available at www.naehcy.org/2017-conference-registration .