homeless college 032521SPRINGFIELD – To ensure students experiencing homelessness are aware of available resources, State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) advanced an initiative to require higher education institutions to designate one employee to serve as a housing insecurity liaison.

“Our state’s higher education system has a responsibility to fight our youth homelessness crisis and provide students with safe places to live,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Just one trusted employee could prevent homeless students from falling through the cracks by connecting them with aid.”

A study by the University of Chicago found that 4.2 million youth and young adults experienced homelessness during a 12-month period, and that nearly 29% of all young adults who experienced homelessness were enrolled in college or another educational program at the time.

Glowiak Hilton’s legislation requires each institution to appoint a Housing and Opportunities Useful for Students' Excellence (H.O.U.S.E.) liaison. Their responsibilities would include identifying appropriate services, understanding aid eligibility, tracking graduation and retention rates, reporting the number of students using homelessness resources, and developing a plan to provide access to on-campus housing between academic breaks to homeless students enrolled at the institution.

Under the legislation, higher education institutions would also be required to provide information about available services and assistance regarding homelessness in financial aid and admission packets, as well as on the institution's website.

“Stable housing is the basis for academic and social opportunities,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Creating this position is an important step on a long-term path toward eliminating homelessness among our children once and for all.”

Senate Bill 190 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday and moves for further consideration before the full Senate.