“Lovell FHCC’s annual Homeless Veterans Summit Feb. 26 served as a stage for collaboration to continue the effort to end homelessness among Veterans, a goal set by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki. The deadline to meet the goal is the end of fiscal year 2015.”
“The Congressional Budget Office last week laid out the consequences for low-wage workers if Democrats succeed in raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.”
“More than 200,000 low-income Illinoisans have applied for new coverage under Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance that was expanded in Illinois and several other states as part of the Affordable Care Act.”
“Illinois’ overall poverty rate is the same as it was a half-century ago despite scores of state and federal aid programs and a dramatic drop in the number of older people struggling to get by, according to a new report that examines how the state has fared since President Lyndon Johnson declared a national War on Poverty.”
“Gov. Pat Quinn wants to raise the minimum wage in Illinois to at least $10 an hour. Some of the Republican challengers to Quinn have danced clumsily around the issue. Our concern is that this narrow focus on a small shift in wages for a small number of workers misses the real point of debate.”
“Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation and the Coalition For Economic and Social Justice are holding a meeting to discuss healthcare insurance for poor and homeless people Saturday at the Belleville Main Library.”
“Now, as Illinois undertakes a major expansion of Medicaid under the national health care overhaul, as many as 120,000 uninsured low-income residents with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress and other psychiatric illnesses will qualify for publicly funded health insurance for the first time, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.”
“Republican Bruce Rauner is calling for a $1-an-hour rollback in the state’s minimum wage in a move Democrats described as ‘class warfare’ on Illinois’ working poor.”
“So in recent days, groups that aim to provide shelter and services to homeless people in the suburbs have boosted their efforts.”
“What matters is that these four children are homeless, like thousands of other children across the city, many of them doubled up with family members until something happens that kicks the legs out from under their fragile support system.”
“The push to reduce homelessness has made an impact, according to an annual report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report showed that veteran homelessness has declined by an estimated 24 percent since 2009.”
“The push to reduce homelessness has made an impact, according to an annual report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The report showed that veteran homelessness has declined by an estimated 24 percent since 2009.”
“A city councilman backing a housing project for low-income and homeless veterans believes it has a chance at approval the second time around.”
“The organizations have managed to rescue some homes from serious disrepair and sell or rent them to low-income families. ‘We've done positive things,’ said Land, whose work was showcased at the Garfield Park meeting. ‘When funds are available, we perform.’”
“She registered for a four-week job readiness service at Inspiration Corporation, a program that helps homeless and low-income people re-enter the workforce.”
“From the new poor in Cook County’s suburbs to the former coal-producing counties of southern Illinois, the state’s hunger problem is growing. At the same time, the federal government has cut funding for its food stamp program.”
“The 2013 Illinois School Report Card released last week for the first time includes a breakdown of the number of students classified as homeless at each public school in the state. Those numbers, for the 2012-13 school year, show that more than 600 schools -- about 15 percent of Illinois schools -- report homeless student populations of at least double the state average of 2 percent.”
“A new U.S. Census report shows that Iowa and several other Midwest and Plains states have the lowest poverty rates when cost of living is factored into the calculation.”
“Now men and women who struggle with homelessness and other problems will receive ‘on-the-spot’ help and guidance through a new Walk-in Center for Homeless Veterans at Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.”
“More of the region’s rural and suburban schools are performing below the state average while dealing with higher than ever numbers of low-income students and those with limited English skills.”
“Advocates say her story reflects an ongoing dilemma for those working to end homelessness. The problem often is dismissed as an urban one, but thousands of homeless people seek emergency overnight shelter across Chicago's suburbs each year. In DuPage County, nearly three-quarters of the homeless are from the county, officials said.”
“These individuals come from all walks of life and don’t fit the old-fashioned notion of the homeless bum sleeping on a park bench. More often than not, they are families with children, veterans or young adults – the vast majority of these having been thrust into homelessness by a life-altering event that was unexpected and unplanned for.”
“The Chicago Loop Alliance on Monday is launching a street team of six paid ambassadors they say will provide ‘extra eyes’ on State Street to help social service agencies identify people who are homeless, addicted to drugs or mentally ill so that they can receive services.”
“Mundelein residents could soon see that rundown home on the corner getting a makeover after village officials agreed to expand a program that rehabs and sells foreclosed homes as affordable housing.”
“Homelessness is caused by a variety of complex and unfortunate social issues, such as the death of family members, a history of being homeless as a child, domestic violence or a history of complex trauma and abuse.”
“Rodgers’ story illustrates how easy it is to become homeless. For many central Illinoisans, it wouldn’t take much — a couple bouts of bad luck, the unexpected onset of a severe health issue or one or two layoffs in the family — to make homelessness a very real and uncomfortable prospect.”
“Children from the lower economic strata of society may not be hampered by poverty as much as they are by lack of paren-tal, teaching and corporate support, as well as bad decisions made by some politicians, judges and legislators. I am appalled by decisions to uproot children from their home schools and send them by bus many miles away to ‘non-failing’ schools in more advantageous environments.”
“In the coming days, our city leaders will engage in a lively debate over the future of services addressing homelessness in our community. Although the subject of this debate centers on the relocation of Helping Hands of Springfield, this discussion demonstrates the need for community leaders to develop and implement sound strategies which promote coordination of care, provide sufficient services and position those services in areas of town with the greatest need.”
“Officials with the Cook County Health System set a goal of enrolling 115,000 residents in CountyCare, an Illinois Medicaid program for adults, before the Tuesday debut of the Affordable Care Act marketplace, spokeswoman Marisa Kollias said. By late last week, about 103,000 eligible adults between the ages of 19 and 64 had already been enrolled in the program, which will provide a bridge for low-income residents to the new federal health care program, she said.”
“She referred to the 112 Education Foundation, which for the past five years has raised an average of about $101,000 per year to bolster the district. Among other uses, the money is allocated as grants for teachers with innovative classroom ideas and used to bring in authors for readings. It also helps to support the school district's growing number of low-income students, which this year has risen to almost a quarter of the student population.”
“In Illinois, about 1,200 of these paid guides will be available to help her and others buy health coverage starting next week via President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law, the largest expansion of insurance in nearly 50 years.”
“There’s almost no chance that Gov. Pat Quinn will persuade the Legislature to raise the minimum wage in Illinois any time soon.”
“As poverty skyrockets in the suburbs, a new report says the suburbs now have as many poor people as the city of Chicago.”
“Gov. Pat Quinn tried Sunday to revive a push to raise Illinois' minimum wage, a topic he's bound to come back to as he seeks re-election next year.”
“According to the Illinois Commerce Commission's website, ‘Low-income consumers may qualify for assistance to help pay for installation of telephone service and monthly charges for local phone service’ - the Illinois Lifeline and Link-Up Telephone Assistance Programs.”
“An estimated 342,000 low-income Illinoisans — mostly single, childless adults — will be added to 2.7 million people already on Medicaid across the state as a result of expanded eligibility for the program, with the cost almost completely funded by the federal government the first three years.”
“The number of residents of St. Clair County -- which covers some of the state's poorest ZIP codes -- depending on S.N.A.P. surged 52 percent -- from 33,403 in 2003, to nearly 51,000 in 2013, for a food stamp participation rate of nearly 19 percent, Illinois Department of Human Services figures show.”
“A national push to raise employee wages at restaurants, supermarkets and elsewhere to as high as $15 per hour pits labor organizers against business owners in an emotional debate about economics and the cost of living.”
“On Monday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the state's massive Medicaid expansion. With that flick of his pen, 342,000 low-income Illinois citizens will be newly eligible for Medicaid starting in January. State officials also expect as many as 171,000 others who are now eligible but haven't signed up to do so as an Obamacare marketing campaign rolls out.”
“About 342,000 low-income Illinoisans will be newly eligible for government-sponsored health insurance through Medicaid starting in January as part of legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Pat Quinn.”
“Illinois became the latest state Monday to implement a central part of President Barack Obama’s health care law by expanding Medicaid to cover low-income adults who don’t have children at home. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state legislation into law, which will allow an estimated 342,000 Illinois residents to enroll by 2017.”
“Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced recently more than $8.5 million in homeless prevention grants will go to organizations across Illinois. The grants will serve more than 2,400 Illinois homeless and at-risk veteran families as part of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program.”
“Employment, housing and stock market gauges may indicate a recovering economy, but agencies that work with the suburban homeless population say the demand is greater than ever.”
“A fledgling shelter for homeless veterans soon will be able to offer assistance to nearly eight times more vets thanks to a federal grant. The Wheaton-based Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans this week received a $444,000 Veterans Affairs grant to serve homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.”
“Low-income CTA customers who buy a Ventra transit fare card are unlikely to cash in on a key initial benefit — a $5 credit that zeros out the cost of obtaining the Ventra card — according to an internal study conducted for the CTA that was released Monday.”
“‘The bipartisan committee I was on predicted that if the administration did a full scrubbing of the Medicaid rolls, they would find 300,000 people enrolled who weren't eligible,’ Bellock said. ‘Taking these people off of the Medicaid rolls would save $350 million.’”
“Five years ago, the district had 31 homeless students. That total reached 231 last school year, with 90 out-of-district students needing transportation, up from 70 the previous year. State law requires districts teach and provide transportation for students who become homeless for as long as they remain homeless.”
“Illinois has removed from its Medicaid rolls this year more than 60,000 people who didn't qualify for the government benefit. That's an astonishing number, and it appears there are still many people getting benefits who don't qualify.”
“The volunteers, staff and backers of the new clinic are seeking to fill a gaping void in general dental services for low-income residents. That void was created when the nonprofit DuPage Community Clinic closed its dental program July 1, 2011, because of dwindling donations and grant funding. The clinic decided to put its resources into medical services. Now, many of the same professionals who volunteered at the former program have collaborated with others in the dental community and with suppliers to re-establish services.”
“Illinois and Missouri children continue to hover near the middle of the pack in an annual assessment of the well-being of the nation’s children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 Kids Count survey ranked Missouri 27th and Illinois 23rd in the overall annual assessment, which looks at 16 statistical indicators that cover economic, educational and health factors. Both states lost ground from last year’s report, when Missouri ranked 26th and Illinois 21st nationwide.”
"Like many of the Chicago area's 20 safety-net hospitals, which act as a stop-gap medical system for the poor, St. Anthony is facing unprecedented pressure to adjust its business model amid the most sweeping changes to the health care system in decades."
“Earlier this week Gov. Pat Quinn promoted a program to help Illinois’s poorest families maximize their farmers market purchases, but few, if any, Illinois Valley residents will be able to take advantage of it."
“Now, as President Obama pushes a proposal to provide public preschool for all 4-year-olds from families with low or moderate incomes, his administration acknowledges that many children will attend classes outside the public schools.”
“Some experts criticize a rise in state ‘poverty grant’ money for wealthier school districts, including the ones in Glenview and Northbrook, but local administrators and parents say the funding is warranted and needed.”
“Research shows that students living in poverty have greater stress than their more well-off counterparts and have more behavioral and emotional problems that could lead to lower academic success. Title I funding addresses the added needs of low-income students when they get to school.”
“As hard as the foreclosure crisis hit Chicago, its force has been felt with an unevenness that can seem fiendishly unjust. The U.S. Postal Service, which tracks these numbers, reported that 62,000 properties in Chicago were vacant at the end of last year, with two-thirds of them clustered as if to form a sinkhole in just a few black neighborhoods on the South and West Sides. Currently about 40 percent of all homeowners in these communities owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and countywide 80,000 foreclosures are wending their way through circuit court.”
“The legislature took another step toward expanding the state’s Medicaid rolls to cover roughly a half million newly eligible low-income residents who would have health insurance for the first time.”
“’Poverty rate is the biggest factor, I believe, that impacts graduation rates,’ said Kewanee District 229 Superintendent Christopher Sullens. ‘There's a lot of reasons for that. Students in low-income families don't always have the resources to help them out at night or provide extra services, and so it falls on the school to do.’"
“A recent Tribune analysis showed that many of Illinois' wealthiest school districts — like New Trier Township High School District, Winnetka District 36 and Wilmette District 39 — have seen a significant increase since 2006 in the amount of poverty dollars used to help disadvantaged children. That rise has occurred even as some of the state's poorest schools are seeing their own allotments reduced.”
“Although an official count hasn't been taken since 2005, data from the National Runaway Safeline and accounts from youth service providers in Chicago suggest that more and more youths – those about 12 to 21 years old – are on their own. Those who work closely with homeless youths said a variety of issues prompt children and teens to run away or get kicked out. A slowly recovering economy and high unemployment has also added to familial stress, they said.”
“Although the majority of the people served have been civilians addicted to alcohol and drugs, the organization also has helped thousands of veterans. But it wasn't until 2008 when [Neli] Vazquez-Rowland learned that about 30 percent of Chicago's homeless population were veterans that she realized a lot more needed to be done.”
‘“Poverty rate is the biggest factor, I believe, that impacts graduation rates,’ said Kewanee District 229 Superintendent Christopher Sullens. ‘There’s a lot of reasons for that. Students in low-income families don’t always have the resources to help them out at night or provide extra services, and so it falls on the school to do.’”
“As South Side and south suburban Chicago Transit Authority riders figure out the best way to get to work and other activities Monday without Red Line Dan Ryan service, a new analysis shows that the CTA's fare increases for one-day and seven-day passes have hit minority and low-income customers hardest.”
“Medical costs are a reason that AARP and other senior advocacy groups believe the government’s poverty threshold needs to be replaced with an experimental, more detailed measurement called the Supplemental Poverty Measure.”
“Across Illinois, the state counted some 1 million low-income students — more than twice the federal numbers — in calculating poverty payments to districts, a Tribune review of school finance data shows.”
“Repurposing school buildings has helped blighted neighborhoods in other cities gain much-needed amenities. For example, the Milwaukee school district sold the Jackie Robinson Middle School, built in 1929 and vacant for five years, along with five acres for $600,000 to a developer that turned the school into a low-income senior housing complex.”
“Regional Transportation Authority officials say they are concerned about a spike in the number of free-ride permits for low-income disabled people being approved by the state. Since January there has been a dramatic increase in permits for free rides on public transit, the RTA said Wednesday.”
“The group has operated out of an east Elgin office since 1996, and began sending its mobile ministry to Elgin's west side in 2010 in an effort to reach more low-income women, organizers said. The group also opened another west side clinic a year ago. But now, they say, the city is jeopardizing their work because of a zoning ordinance change made last year that limits the number of days they can park the vehicle in the same place.”
“A metro-east phone company has launched a pilot program that will help provide a year of high-speed Internet service and computers to rural low-income residents.”
“Last month, the Chicago Board of Education announced it would close 54 schools, affecting 30,000 children, mostly in low-income, African-American neighborhoods on the city's South and West sides.”
“The Arkansas approach may or may not be right for Illinois. Critics point out that private insurance tends to cost more than traditional Medicaid. But that insurance could provide overall better health care coordination for low-income people than traditional fee-for-service Medicaid. Over time, that could trim health care costs.”
“One of companies is Harrisonville Telephone Co. in Waterloo, which will provide qualifying customers with a refurbished computer for $50 and a year's worth of high-speed Internet service for as low as $9.95 a month. The pilot project, called Better Broadband, Better Lifeline, is one of 14 in the nation.”
“The Wilson Men's Hotel, one of only two cubicle-style housing facilities in the city that offer affordable housing aimed at low-income residents, is at risk of being shut. Proposed changes to the city's zoning ordinance that are still pending in City Council would prohibit cubicle-style sleeping-room hotels in residential communities like Uptown.”
“In a release Wednesday, the Illinois State Board of Education says the spike in low-income students and those with limited English has led to increased costs for school districts.”
“Now Senate Republicans are pushing back at that idea by citing numbers they say show CPS is ‘supersizing’ on school funding relative to other Illinois districts. CPS has 18 percent of the schoolchildren in Illinois but gets 88 percent of an extra pot of state education money earmarked for students who live in poverty or participate in early childhood education, special education and other programs, according to the GOP analysis.”
“Cuts to the Department of Housing & Urban Development have triggered dire consequences for the Housing Choice Voucher Program used by the Chicago Housing Authority to move thousands of families from areas of concentrated poverty into more diverse neighborhoods and suburbs.”
“Changes that were never approved nor even debated by the legislature have skewed the poverty grant formula to create huge discrepancies in the value placed on children in poverty.”
“If poor people could get a rigorous, reflection-based education instead of merely being trained to perform poverty-level jobs, he wrote in his book ‘Riches for the Poor,’ they would become full participants in public life, free to pursue opportunities they couldn't have otherwise imagined. Expanding the course to Harlan academy was his final project.”
“Households below the poverty line have increased more than 9 percent since 2000 -- and not where you might expect. While hardship increased in ZIP codes with historically high rates of poverty, the greatest increases occurred in traditionally healthy communities like Forest Glen (155 percent), Montclare (136 percent) West Lawn (126 percent) and O'Hare (101 percent).”
"Public housing residents in Chicago are marginally better off today than when they lived in the CHA high-rise towers that have since been torn down, though more social services are needed to prevent a backslide, according to a study scheduled to be released Monday. Continuing problems with poverty and crime in their new neighborhoods point to a potentially dark future for many of those nearly 16,000 families, particularly children, the report by the Washington-based Urban Institute said."
"School closings fall disproportionately on poor and minority neighborhoods. 'These school closings have been happening in communities that were already destabilized by the dismantling of public housing, by gentrification and effects of the economic crisis,' said Pauline Lipman, professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago."
“A little more than a decade ago, Chicago's strategy for fighting homelessness mainly involved stopgap measures like pointing people to a temporary bed in a shelter and giving directions to a soup kitchen. But then city officials, with the help of advocates, set about to better understand the needs of Chicago's homeless population and offer services aimed at putting a permanent roof over their heads.”
“There's a surplus of funds for the kindergarten program, and administrators want more low-income students to reap the benefits of an all-day kindergarten, which led to the proposed reduction in fees for only those students.”
“The Illinois Senate on Thursday approved a plan to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults. The proposal would accept an offer from the federal government that is part of the federal Affordable Care Act.”
“Over the weekend, the White House issued talking points on programs that would be threatened if Democrats and Republicans do not reach a deal to head off the automatic cuts known as sequestration. But in many cases it will be up to local-level officials to figure out what gets funded and what does not. Some think a deal is still possible before Friday, while others welcome the cuts as a necessary brake on spending. Still others are downplaying the overall impact.”
“Community members spoke out against the final report of the ‘Homes for a Changing Region’ project. Slamming the report as general and the process confusing, some residents said at the village board meeting this month that they were concerned that low-income housing would affect the local schools and, ultimately, their property values.”
“The state recently defunded an Arlington Heights immunization clinic, but local officials say they're trying to restore the program that has served hundreds of low-income children in the northwest suburbs each year.”
“Illinois has just over 800 students in its eight state youth prisons. The average young inmate enters scoring between the fifth- and sixth-grade level in reading, and Gaffey said school records and the teens' own stories suggest that elementary-grade truancy is increasing across the state amid rising rates of child poverty and homelessness.”
“Obama's emphasis on high quality is important. Preschool intervention programs vary in quality. But, at their best, they help children make the most of their early learning years at a time when their learning and study habits are being formed. One recent federal evaluation of Head Start, which is aimed at low-income preschoolers, found parents benefited, too, by learning to use appropriate discipline techniques and learning to spend more time reading to their children.”
“President Obama returned home Friday to a city shaken by the gun violence he has sworn to curb, delivering a call for communities to ‘fill the hole’ in the hearts of troubled young people and work together to rise out of poverty.”
“Teens between 14 and 18 who meet low-income guidelines are eligible to participate in the Workforce Development Program, a county-based initiative that helps place teens in summer jobs. ‘It's a great first-time or second-time job experience to put on their resume,’ said Jennifer Everett, youth program manager. ‘It's something that will help them in the future.’”
“According to the report, ‘Some of the most significant achievements have involved expanding access to early childhood education, health-care coverage and affordable child care.’ Other gains the report touts include substantially improving the child welfare system, establishing and strengthening the state earned income tax credit for low-income working families and adopting social and emotional learning standards for Illinois public schools.”
“President Barack Obama plans to talk about helping struggling families make their way into the middle class during a trip to the Chicago area on Friday, when he will also touch on the wide-ranging approach he thinks the country should take to fighting gun violence.”
“New statistics from a Chicago-based social research group reveal that one in three Illinois residents are living below or near the poverty line.”
“By the end of the night, volunteers had turned in 27. Officials say other factors will be used before the tally is done, and they expect it will take several weeks to finalize the count. In 2009, volunteers found roughly 100 people who were unsheltered. In 2011, they found around 35.”
“Buying a new pair of running shoes in Illinois could cost a quarter more if a measure to tax gym shoes gets traction at the Capitol. The idea behind the 25-cent shoe tax is to pump more money into programs that help high-school dropouts from low-income homes get jobs in the construction trades or get back on track to attend college.”
“Mr. President, you inspired America with your inaugural call to honor the promise of Martin Luther King. In Newtown and in your gun-violence proposals, you have shown the courage it requires to lead. After Hadiya's shooting, more police were pledged to patrol the streets. But as you know from your time on these streets, Mr. President, you cannot police poverty. You cannot police broken dreams or shattered aspirations. Chicago has strong gun laws, but it cannot stop the flow of guns and drugs coming in and jobs going out.”
“The free networks would resolve the biggest hurdle that poor Chicagoans face in getting fast Internet access in their homes, said Mossberger, who has co-authored a new book, ‘Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity.’ ‘For low-income neighborhoods, the cost of Internet access is a major barrier,’ she said.”
“Officials are working out the details now and looking for a way to lower costs before kindergarten registration begins in March, Superintendent Donn Mendoza said. Fees for low-income students are expected to be waived, possibly based on their eligibility for free or reduced-price lunches, he said.”
“It's a program of the Illinois Humanities Council in partnership with the University of Chicago's Civic Knowledge Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bard College's (New York) Clemente Course in the Humanities. Since the late Earl Shorris founded the course in 1995, believing the humanities could provide a path out of poverty, the model has been used around the world.”
“A local homeless advocacy group hopes to see the city of Springfield improve services to the chronically homeless, in part by creating what a federal panel has called a ‘safe haven’ system. Some city officials said they have regularly worked with the group, Homeless United for Change, but have found the advocates at times do not follow through on their proposals.”
“A staggering one out of three Illinoisans today lives in or near poverty - the peak of a continued climb over three decades, a new study finds. It means one in five Illinois children are living in poverty, according to the study released Wednesday by the Social IMPACT Research Center of Chicago's Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.”
“A proposed apartment complex for veterans facing homelessness received a warm reception last week. Both potential neighbors and city officials gave the proposal generally good reviews at meetings with Volunteers of America, which would build and run the 72-unit development at Silver Cross Hospital's vacated Joliet campus.”
“The lame-duck session of our state legislature will convene in January to address important issues. A ‘yes’ vote on HB 6253 should be as easy as it will be significant. The bill extends Medicaid coverage to low-income Illinoisans who now will be eligible under the Affordable Care Act.”
“There is nothing easy about trying to boost academic outcomes for poor kids. That is why we've supported a range of aggressive interventions for the Chicago Public Schools over the years, including school closures, charter openings, turnarounds, improved teacher evaluations, a longer school day and changes to teaching tenure, hiring and firing rules.”
“Schools across Illinois have experienced a double whammy in recent years. As the number of homeless students continues to rise -- 22 percent during the past two years -- state and federal funding for homeless education has fallen 64 percent since peaking in 2009. With government support flat-lining, experts worry that cash-strapped schools won't have enough resources to meet the demands of the growing population.”
"Half of the elementary schools in Naperville Unit District 203 may offer all-day kindergarten next year, under a proposal that won initial support from most school board members Monday. District officials say they would like to implement the program at its seven Title 1 schools, which are those that receive federal funds to assist low-income students."
“That's according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which for the first time Thursday reported vocabulary scores pulled out from the reading tests given to fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders nationwide. Which is troubling, experts say, since vocabulary is essential to reading comprehension, and poverty keeps rising in Illinois. More than half the state's 1.95 million schoolchildren qualified for free or reduced lunch in 2012.”
“Elgin police are working with social service agencies to make sure homeless people know where they can turn for help, after the recent deaths of two men found in the Fox River, along with winters when the Police Department lobby's always seemed to be crowded.”
“If you feel a twinge of guilt in the worst of a Chicago winter when a homeless person begs for food, an Evanston entrepreneur may have come up with an answer. Jed JohnHope, 30, whose family has seen hard times, is creating a ‘Mercy’ gift card that will let donors feel more comfortable giving the homeless choices rather than a handout. The so-called Mercy Card will let homeless people pay for meals with a prepaid gift card good at restaurants that take major credit cards.”
“Lewis, who won key concessions from Emanuel's school board by leading her union's 29,000 members on a seven-day strike in September, said social and economic concerns have to be addressed before schools can get better. ‘We cannot fix what's wrong with our schools until we are prepared to have honest conversations about poverty and race,’ Lewis said. ‘Until we do, we will be mired in the no-excuses mentality (that) poverty doesn't matter. Poverty matters a lot when you are teaching children who are distracted by their lives.’”
“Lazarus House, a charitable organization based in St. Charles, serves the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless. It is one of several Fox Valley organizations serving a free Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and has done so yearly since it opened its doors in 1997.”
“Led by St. Louis evangelist Larry Rice, a group of metro-east homeless advocates went to the St. Clair County Public Building Thursday to put a referendum on the ballot that would push the city of Belleville to allow the old downtown YMCA to be turned into a homeless shelter.”
“For the first time, half of Illinois public schools now serve populations that are at least 40 percent low-income, said Robin Steans, Advance Illinois executive director. In addition, in the mere two years between 2010 and 2012, the state's low-income public school population grew from 45 percent to 49 percent in K-12 and from 26 percent to 32 percent in four-year colleges.”
“Outreach workers who make home visits and provide services can help reduce truancy, records and interviews show. With rising rates of child poverty and homelessness contributing to the problem, sometimes the fix is as simple as an alarm clock or winter boots.”
“She also said the alliance is about much more than just spreading awareness. The student alliance was founded on the belief that all children have a right to shelter, food, education and freedom from abuse and exploitation, she said. To that end, students from New Trier High School, North Shore Country Day School, Loyola Academy and Maine South High School work together to serve homeless youth in the greater Chicago Metropolitan area, Mogentale said.”
“Housing Opportunities for Women is one of the organizations supported by Chicago Tribune's Holiday Giving, a campaign of Chicago Tribune Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund. Founded in 1983, Housing Opportunities for Women has steadily grown from offering six units to around 400, which it subsidizes until the resident can get on her feet, achieve a stable income and community network, and eventually assume rent payments on her own, Shawver said.”
“For children born into poverty, the flood of missed days threatens to swallow any hope for a better life. For the Chicago Public Schools, the empty seats undermine efforts to boost achievement and cost the district millions in attendance-based funding.”
“Through its Community Reinvestment Grant, Castle Bank, a part of First National Bank of Omaha, has awarded $5,000 to McHenry County PADS homeless services, a program of Pioneer Center for Human Services.”
“Schools in Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214 fell short of federal standards, but leaders stress students continue to perform well according to other measures. None of the district's six traditional high schools achieved adequate yearly progress as set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The district has 12,300 students, 23 percent of whom are considered low income, according to a state report card released Oct. 31.”
“An estimated 17 percent of DuPage County residents are low-income, and 608 people were in homeless shelters on one night last winter, according to information collected by the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform.”
“An estimated 17 percent of DuPage County residents are low-income, and 608 people were in homeless shelters on one night last winter, according to information collected by the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform.”
“Thanks to the Citypak Project, 2,000 backpacks were distributed at homeless shelters and other locations last week. The sturdy and versatile bags were designed and manufactured by Gurnee-based High Sierra Sport Company.”
“Fewer students are enrolled in Prairie Central school district and more of them are considered low-income, compounding challenges when funding is tight.”
“We agree with most of Rice's substance. There is a homeless problem. We need solutions. However nothing meaningful is going to happen ‘now.’ There is no valid stereotype on the homeless. These aren't just drunken bums or kings of the road who occasionally hop freight trains.”
“The homeless tent community was organized by Rev. Larry Rice, of New Life Evangelistic Center in St. Louis, to bring awareness to the homeless population in St. Clair County. Church vans transported homeless people from St. Louis to Belleville and back again so they could participate.”
“What began about six years ago as an idea to give low-income children in West Chicago more than just a head start before kindergarten has become a reality for 150 infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families. Educare of West DuPage, a state-of-the-art preschool, recently opened across the park from West Chicago Elementary District 33's Pioneer Elementary School, which has the highest percentage of low-income students of any elementary school in DuPage County.”
“The teachers insisted that any evaluation has to take into account the fact that poverty and other social problems make many of their students virtually unteachable. This is true, but there's also a circular element to their arguments. The widespread poverty and social dysfunction are at least partly rooted in the failure of the last generation of schoolchildren to get adequate instruction in Chicago public schools.”
“New U.S. census data released Thursday indicated that it still could be a rough road for tens of thousands of people in Illinois. An estimated 1.9 million people in the state were living below the federal poverty rate last year, almost 150,000 more than in 2010, according to the new American Community Survey.”
“The number of Madison County residents living below the poverty line decreased between 2010 and 2011 in Madison County. Updated statistics released Sept. 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that over the past two years, more Illinoisans and Americans were living below the poverty line last year than the year before.”
“Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan has announced Madison County has obtained funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to assist low income county residents with the cost of home energy bills. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is designed to assist low-income citizens by offsetting the rising cost of home energy.”
“The fact is that teachers are being saddled with absurdly high expectations. Some studies have shown a correlation between student performance and teacher “effectiveness,” depending how this elusive quality is measured. But there is a whole body of academic literature proving the stronger correlation between student performance and a much more important variable: family income.”
“No one likes teachers strikes. But teachers are on the front line. In a time of spreading poverty and rising hunger, with harsh exploitation of the poor by landlords and payday lenders, poor children too often come to impoverished schools. Teachers take the rap for poor student performance without having the power to change what gets in the way of learning.”
“Are we expecting too much of our teachers? Schools are clearly a critical piece -- no, the critical piece -- in any anti-poverty strategy, but they can't go it alone. Nor can we do school reform on the cheap. In the absence of any bold effort to alleviate the pressures of poverty, in the absence of any bold investment in educating our children, is it fair to ask that the schools -- and by default, the teachers -- bear sole responsibility for closing the economic divide? This is a question asked not only in Chicago, but in virtually every urban school district around the country.”
“Whites who didn't flee the city after the schools were desegrated fled the schools. Less than 9 percent of Chicago public school kids are white. And few of those kids are not in charter or other specialized schools. The ‘real’ schools, as Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis called them a few days ago, have long since been abandoned by white folks. With overwhelming poverty in black and Latino neighborhoods, parents simply can't afford to send their kids to private schools. A whopping 87 percent of all public school students come from low-income families, says the school system.”
“The most important civil rights battleground today is education, and, likewise, the most crucial struggle against poverty is the one fought in schools. Inner-city urban schools today echo the ‘separate but equal’ system of the early 1950s. In the Chicago Public Schools where teachers are now on strike, 86 percent of children are black or Hispanic, and 87 percent come from low-income families. Those students often don't get a solid education, any more than blacks received in their separate schools before Brown v. Board of Education.”
“Are the social factors Lewis named beyond a teacher's control? Sure. But do any of those mean kids can't learn, can't excel at school? Absolutely not. A 2011 federal study showed impoverished inner-city kids in Boston, New York, Houston and other metro areas outperforming Chicago elementary students in math and science. The kids all shared similar backgrounds. Teachers in those other cities' classrooms obviously didn't think their students couldn't learn.”
“On Sunday night, when she announced that the teachers were going on strike, Lewis said that teachers should not be at risk of losing their jobs over new evaluations that rely heavily on standardized test scores, which don't account for outside factors like poverty and homelessness. Reformers have long complained that teachers' unions too often use poverty as an excuse for poor performance. Lewis's remarks would seem to justify that complaint.”
“In Chicago, 85 percent of the roughly 400,000 public school students are either African-American or Latino. A similar percentage receives free or reduced-price meals, which means these students live at or near the poverty line: $27,214 for a family of three, in a typical case. The average public-school teacher in Chicago earned almost triple that amount - $76,000 per year, according to the school district. In contract negotiations this year, Chicago Public Schools offered an average total pay increase of 16 percent over four years.”
“Starting the school day with a meal is now the norm at 10 schools in Elgin-based School District U-46 with participation in the national Breakfast in the Classroom program. District officials say the program -- unique because kids eat at their desks to conserve instruction time -- ensures that students who otherwise might go hungry start their day with full bellies.”
“With the number of low income and special education students growing each year, officials said it's time to reapply the strategies that have been successful and maybe look for new ways to reach those groups. ‘One of the biggest challenges we face is that our at-risk populations are increasing substantially,’ said Cordogan.”
“The new contract spells the end of the district's short-lived foray into the National School Lunch Program, which provides federal reimbursements in exchange for offering healthy free or reduced-cost meals to low-income students. The district entered the national program last year due to a substantial increase in student poverty rates -- from 16 percent in 2007 to 31 percent last year. Roughly 183,500 free or reduced-price lunches were served at Niles North and Niles West high schools last year, district documents show.”
“For nearly 30 years, the women have trekked the Chicago region, from Aurora to Waukegan, dropping off cases of brand-name baby formula for mothers who can't afford to feed their infants.”
“The district originally targeted Jane Addams for nutrition initiatives because of its large population of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch. According to the 2011 state report cards, 59 percent of Jane Addams students were low-income compared to a districtwide average of 31.9 percent, the highest in District 15. Children who qualify for free breakfast under the traditional program are from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level, or $29,055 for a family of four during the 2011-12 school year.”
“For Weil, who is confined to a wheelchair and has difficulty hearing and speaking due to an unknown degenerative disease, such independence would not be possible without the Over the Rainbow Association. The nonprofit based in northern Illinois builds and manages affordable, accessible and independent living opportunities for low-income adults with physical disabilities.”
“Chicago will privatize overnight transport services for the homeless and use the $1.7 million savings to reduce ‘youth homelessness’ that impacts more than 17,000 Chicago Public School students living ‘doubled up’ with other families. Last year, a mid-year cut in state funding forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lay off 24 city employees who worked the overnight shift picking up homeless residents and transporting them to shelters. Under pressure from aldermen to restore the homeless cuts, Emanuel set aside the $200,000 needed to reinstate ‘two to three’ teams of employees working the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift to make certain that homeless Chicagoans who need overnight transport to shelters get the rides they need.”
“Catholic Charities is taking over as the agency giving people late-night rides to shelters as part of Chicago's latest plan to fight homelessness. The city will use an expected $1.7 million in annual savings from turning the overnight services over to the charity to help provide more beds and support to homeless youth and others, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.”
“A new health center aimed at serving low-income Evanston and Skokie residents has received a major cash infusion by way of a $1.8 million gift from NorthShore University HealthSystem.”
“A Comcast program narrowed the digital divide for nearly 7,000 low-income families in Chicago and 100,000 nationally in its first year, the company revealed Wednesday as it unveiled plans to expand the program's reach. The company's first-of-its-kind Internet Essentials program provides discounted home Internet services to poor families, vouchers for them to purchase low-cost computers and access to free digital literacy training.”
“American Indians have struggled disproportionately with poverty, unemployment and a staggering high school dropout rate. More than 27 percent of American Indians in Chicago have incomes below the poverty level, slightly less than African-Americans but more than other minority groups.”
“Among the services offered by the nonprofit is a Child Care Payment program to subsidize low income and CalWORKS families with their child care costs while parents work, look for work or attend school or career training programs.”
“SCARCE, or School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education, provides teachers and schools with supplies and books throughout the year. At the fair, the organization will have 12,000 books to give to students targeted at preschool children all the way through high school. ‘It's helping them because it's low-income kids, so they might not have their own resources to go out and buy books,’ Kelly Burda of SCARCE said. ‘It's helping them with literacy because they're more likely to read if they have something they enjoy.’”
“Low-income seniors often end up in costly nursing homes, even though they don't need the skilled nursing services. The guiding philosophy behind supportive housing is to provide a cost-effective setting for seniors who need help with daily routines and can't afford private-pay assisted living, but don't require nursing care. Illinois is a leader in affordable assisted living, experts say. Other states are experimenting with assisted living for low-income seniors, but Illinois has purpose-built facilities that have assisted services and accept Medicaid.”
“The Burriescis are one of many families participating in the summertime ‘lemonade challenge’ through the Greater La Grange YMCA of Metro Chicago. The money benefits the YMCA's Annual Fund, which provides scholarships to low-income children.”
“Under No Child Left Behind, 85 percent of students needed to meet standards in 2011 while 92.5 percent were required in 2012. At Mill, low-income students missed the mark in reading both years. Naperville Unit District 203 has chosen Meadow Glens and River Woods as alternate schools for Mill students because they are high-achieving and have the capacity to accommodate them, according to Kitty Ryan, assistant superintendent for elementary education. Parents have until Aug. 8 to request a transfer. By law, priority will be given to low-income, low-achieving students.”
“City Council members recently approved zoning changes that will allow a developer to turn St. Mary's Carmelite Church into low-income housing for senior citizens. Work on the $10.5 million project is expected to start sometime next year.”
"Nearly 2,220 children living in McHenry County — or 10.9 percent of the county's children — don't have health insurance, the highest percentage among the state's 102 counties, according to 'At a Crossroad: A Report on the State of Insurance Coverage in Illinois...' Numbers are for families at or below 200 percent of the poverty level — or $46,000 for a family of four in 2012 dollars — and are based on 2010 U.S. Census data."
"Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said the agency had no comment on the lawsuit. But he said officials already had been working on a plan to raise about $5.5 million to help fund the state's medically fragile and technology-dependent waiver program. The money would allow them to increase the income cap from 500 percent to 800 percent of the federal poverty level."
"Benefits provided to low-income individuals, free and discounted hospital care for the indigent, support for health care programs or services for the indigent, subsidizing physicians treating low-income persons and disease management and prevention for low-income persons will now count, as will the difference between the cost of providing a Medicaid service and the state reimbursement."
"Many homeless are forced to camp out while church-based shelter sites are closed from May through September. The congregation was a founding member of PADS and housed the Wednesday site from the beginning until they moved to McHenry in January. Separation has not lessened the commitment of members to continuing to find ways to serve the homeless."
"The shift in attitudes at a time when the economy remains sluggish in many parts of the country has drawn protests from anti-poverty groups and some Democrats. 'Increased SNAP participation has helped millions of families avoid hunger during this deep recession,' said Matthew Sharp, a senior advocate at California Food Policy Advocates. 'We see any reduction of the size of benefits as a hit that families can't afford to take.'"
"Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn last week signed sweeping health care legislation that dramatically eases the Medicaid funding burden on state coffers while defusing a fiscal threat posed to not-for-profit hospitals over their charity care activities."
"A $1.6 billion Medicaid spending cut that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Thursday takes a bite out of a relatively generous program and will leave the state with a level of services already familiar elsewhere in the nation."
"Pritzker said he also is interested in helping grow the Denver-based Nurse-Family Partnership, in which a nurse periodically visits low-income, first-time moms at their homes. He also cited the Fussy Baby Network, run by Chicago's Erikson Institute, which operates a hotline for parents whose infants are excessively crying."
"For more than 12 years, Delgado has lived in Lawrence House, a troubled high-rise in Chicago's Uptown community. She and hundreds of other vulnerable, low-income residents -- some of them elderly, some of them physically disabled or mentally ill -- live in their own small units. Most of the residents are single and rely on each other for a support system."
"Those without insurance are also disproportionately low-income, with 70 percent of young people who make less than $29,726 a year -- or 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- reporting they had lacked insurance at some point in the previous year."
"Because drug dealing doesn't last. Thug life has no retirement plan. And because the best antidote to poverty is education. I plan to say as much at an awards celebration this Thursday evening to a group of Chicago public elementary school students in a program called 'It's So Cool To Be Smart' - which seeks to promote college, and encourages and rewards student achievement while also strengthening 'a culture of student success within schools.'"
"As a whole, the 20 districts with the highest percentages of students with 504s had enrollments that were 76 percent white; all had far less poverty than the state average of 45 percent of enrollment. The 20 districts with the lowest percentages of 504s were 19 percent white, and the vast majority had far higher poverty than the state average."
"The measure, making its way through the Illinois House, would loosen the rules of the enterprise zone program. Participation is currently limited to blighted areas, defined by considerations such as income, unemployment and poverty rates."
"'I still haven't gotten paid,' said Zarahi Menendez, owner of Kiddieland Educational Center of Excellence in Chicago's Old Irving Park neighborhood. She said the state owes her April and May payments for providing state subsidized child-care services to low-income families."
"Rural hospitals would have to give free care to patients with incomes below 125 percent of the poverty guidelines. That's about $29,000 for a family of four. Care would have to be deemed medically necessary and patients would have to apply for financial assistance."
"They were strangers when they first arrived at an emergency shelter, fearful of an abusive spouse or partner, each potentially homeless and carrying few personal belongings."
"The standards for nonprofits would count towards a hospital's charity care activities any benefits provided to low-income individuals, free and discounted hospital care for the indigent, support for heath care programs or services for the indigent, subsidizing physicians treating low-income persons, disease management and prevention for low-income persons."
" 'A year ago in January, the legislature adopted a moratorium requiring no expansion of Medicaid until January of 2014,' Preckwinkle said Friday. 'We're applying for a waiver so we can enroll people now who will be eligible in 2014, and in order to do that, we have to get an exemption from the statute.' The waiver would let 100,000 low-income people in Cook County join Medicaid in July. "
"It's 9 p.m., and 26 young men and women have shown up at the Crib, a shelter for homeless youth in the Lake View Lutheran Church at Addison and Halsted."
"With the adoption of the landmark No Child Left Behind law a decade ago, ushering in an era of high-stakes testing, the federal government created SES to give extra help in math and reading to low-income students, a demographic that typically scores at the bottom of state tests."
"He and others note that federal law restricts schools from charging fees to low-income families, which is why many children are on free or reduced-price lunch programs. 'For a district like Granite City, we have a lot of free-and-reduced families. You can't pass that along,' said Briggs. 'I don't believe you could charge enough to break even' by charging just the higher-income students for bus service."
"The book should have a second subtitle: 'How to keep the poor poor and blacks enslaved to government.' To the extent this book is taken seriously by anyone, the result can only be more, entrenched poverty."
"Jim and Debra Miller have been happily married for 11 years, but currently live under separate roofs. And not by choice. When the couple found themselves jobless and subsequently homeless last July, they had no option but to move into separate same-sex shelters."
"Today, the utility sends out trucks to turn off service, a face-to-face contact that can prevent power from being switched off at homes of those who require electricity for life-saving medical devices. About 25 percent of low-income households use electrically powered medical devices, the study found."
"Upset with the situation, some students and parents are planning a protest Friday at Bughouse Square, officially known as Washington Square Park, diagonally across the street from Ogden. The park, crisscrossed with walkways and dotted with benches where homeless people linger, is the closest thing to green space of the sort that stretches invitingly around most suburban schools."
"To bring down costs and improve medical care in some of Chicago's most poverty-stricken neighborhoods, a coalition of six hospitals and more than 100 clinics and physician practices are participating in the venture."
"Earned Income Tax Credits are often touted by economists and politicians as one of the most successful and important anti-poverty government programs of the past century. Research has indicated the tax breaks have a greater impact on reducing the nation's poverty rate than any other government-operated financial assistance program, and claiming the benefit does not impede anyone's ability to qualify for other assistance programs."
"The nationwide recession dramatically increased the percentage of metro-east students whose families live at or below the poverty level. Of 45 school districts in St. Clair, Madison, Clinton and Monroe counties, only six of them had more than half their student population rank below the poverty level a decade ago. "
"Her 3-year-old nonprofit organization, Mothers Helping Mothers, is turning an upstairs section of the repurposed plant into a 21-bed dormitory for homeless teen moms and their children. Sanders and other advocates say the city desperately needs services that focus on that population. Adult shelters, for example, don't take kids and generally are a poor fit for the youngest women."
"Supporters envision a community hub that would instill a sense of ownership, where students could walk to class and parents would become more involved. But an estimated 87 percent of students would be low-income, a concentration that alarms opponents who find little evidence that such a school would improve or even sustain academic achievement levels."
"In Chicago and cities throughout the country, community groups and homeowners have rallied to protest what they decry as the inequities between bailed-out megabanks and financially strapped consumers. The Occupy Wall Street movement turned its attention to the housing crisis last fall, and groups around the country have worked to keep people in their homes, place the needy in properties that are seemingly abandoned and rid neighborhoods of blight. The size of the movement isn't clear because most go unpublicized."
"Since 1989, the federal government has required states to cover pregnant women whose income is at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That's the equivalent of about $14,800 annually for a single-person household. That's the minimum states must do."
"Still, the median household income in Harrisburg is $33,278, more than $20,000 less than in the state as a whole, and a larger percentage of people are living below the poverty level.
'The economy is so bad,' said Bill Horning, 76, who is retired from the local bank. Residents complained of an aging, vanishing population and a younger generation with few choices but the mines, the military or fast food restaurants."
"One said goodbye, embracing his anxious parents. One left without a word, indignant and angry. After traveling thousands of miles by bus, train and on foot, the two young men met in a homeless shelter on Chicago's Northwest Side."
"The U.S. Treasury Department has awarded $65 million in tax credits to a Chicago fund that will direct the money to the city's low-income communities. The New Market Tax Credits were awarded to the Chicago Development Fund. The credit program was established to spur economic development and jobs in poor areas."
"The federal government has launched a criminal investigation into one of the state's largest nonprofits, which spent millions of stimulus dollars on weatherization work in low-income homes."
"Some argue that the top universities should pick up on Obama's theme and give an edge to high school students who come from low-income families, regardless of race or ethnic heritage. 'These campuses pride themselves on being liberal and racially diverse, but there are huge class inequalities,' said Richard Kahlenberg, a scholar at The Century Foundation in Washington."
"Critics say Noble is nickel-and-diming its mostly low-income students over insignificant, made-up infractions that force out students administrators don't want. `We think this just goes over the line...' said Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the Chicago advocacy group Parents United for Responsible Education..."
"Though Noble officials say waivers and payment plans are available, 90 percent of students are low-income, raising questions about the affordability of discipline fees. "I can't imagine that a policy like this wouldn't result in some families leaving,' Mr. Welner said."
"Dr. Grinter is a dentist whose appointment book includes hundreds of Medicaid clients, many of whom have no other access to dental care. He treats children, the elderly and the disabled -- often in school gymnasiums or nursing home cafeterias as part of a mobile dentistry outreach."
"The leader of a major St. Louis ministry for the poor asked churches in the metro-east to open their doors to the homeless. The Rev. Larry Rice, of New Life Evangelistic Center in St. Louis, and half a dozen people receiving services from his organization, took to downtown Belleville sidewalks Tuesday. They handed out fliers that said, 'This Valentine's Day, Have a Heart for the Homeless.'"
"One in five children in Illinois live in poverty, according to Illinois Kids Count 2012 data released Thursday by the organization Voices for Illinois Children. The organization released its 2012 data Thursday morning at various locations throughout the state, including East St. Louis, and the report shows an economy that is still struggling with poverty and a high joblessness rate."
"Illinois children are caught in a 'budget crossfire,' hit hard by state budget cuts and a recession that left one in five of them living in poverty and 33,000 students homeless in 2010, a children's advocacy organization said in a report released Thursday."
"The rich rulers in high places show amazing indifference to the poor while commercializing a religion that is rooted in a poverty-stricken Jesus. Jesus' mission was to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. Too many of those in power are woefully silent about the predicament of the poor."
"I was born a son of the ghetto, joint heir to poverty, the firstborn of a 17-year-old black mother married to a black male, sometimes mechanic, 22. My father was an alcoholic. This was how he lived. It was the way he died."
"Gov. Pat Quinn is pushing state lawmakers to raise the age students can legally drop out of school from 17 to 18, a move aimed at improving graduation rates but one that local educators say won't accomplish much unless the state also provides the money to keep at-risk students in school."
"'I'm underemployed,' said Pagan, who previously lived in a shelter for two months. She has an associate's degree and would love an office job. Marvin's dad helps with expenses, but she said she and her son -- a mostly A and B student who wants to be a doctor -- are living paycheck to paycheck, with no savings."
"Health experts say low-income people often can't afford their medications or the healthier foods they are advised to eat. Many don't have cars and have trouble getting to follow-up medical appointments, and they can be confused about the sometimes complex instructions they are given for managing their conditions."
"The state's Community Care Program serves about 80,000 low-income people 60 and older. About 10 percent of the program's clients are 90 or older, according to Mary Killough, deputy director of the Illinois Department on Aging."
"The problem follows a messy transition in summer from free-ride RTA permits for riders 65 and older on the CTA, Metra and Pace to a reduced-fare permit that took effect Sept. 1 for most seniors. Low-income seniors can still ride for free under a program originally introduced by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich four years ago."
"But the longer school day debate has exposed the social divide in a district with 86 percent of students classified as low-income, but with a growing number of middle- and upper-middle-income families speaking out against across-the-board district policies.
Parents from poorer communities -- who may not have extracurricular options available in their neighborhood -- are welcoming the chance for their children to be off the street and in school longer."
"According to the survey data, Calhoun County showed improvements in child deaths, teen pregnancy, teen deaths and high school dropouts, in the number of children living in out-of-home care and in student performance on state tests. But the area was trending negatively in child poverty, low birth weight babies and infant mortality and in the number of confirmed victims of child neglect or abuse."
"On Tuesday, Wuest, other policy leaders and education and youth advocates will gather at a forum at the Chicago Urban League to drum up support for the Pathways Back to Work Act, federal legislation that would provide $5 billion in training and employment programs for youth and unemployed and low-income adults."
"Food stamp use has soared over the last decade, and now some 44 million people receive the assistance. You can call this a bipartisan phenomenon: Factcheck.org reports that the number of people using food stamps jumped by 14.7 million during Republican George W. Bush's term and has risen by 14.2 million so far under Democrat Obama."
"Allen cited several examples of poverty in this community. More than 1,300 county residents are homeless, and an increasing number of children in the public schools are among them. More people are seeking help, and this is coinciding with another threatened round of budget cuts that would reduce or eliminate social services statewide, march organizers said."
" Last Tuesday, I signed a bill to put more money in the pockets of working families by doubling Illinois' EITC from 5 percent of the federal credit to 10 percent, saving low-income workers an extra $105 million a year. As the largest improvement of Illinois' EITC since its inception, this tax relief will save more than 900,000 families an extra $100 to $200 a year."
"School districts reap rewards for enrolling as many students as possible in the lunch program, in part because those numbers help determine funding tied to poverty levels"
"The report, written by Julia Isaacs, a child and family policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, examined the number of children living with an unemployed parent, the number of those who rely on food stamps and the number who live in poverty."
"Jarvis, like thousands of other students in Chicago Public Schools, is homeless. He is just one of more than 10,660 students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year. That's 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year, according to a CPS tally."
"The biggest issues, advocates say, are Medicaid reimbursement rates in Illinois that are among the lowest in the country for specialized care and administrative hassles that go along with treating low-income patients. Dentists say they can't make ends meet."
"Police have already targeted an unofficial homeless camp near the City-County Building, blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium, which WRTV-TV reported has become a focus for complaints and is an eyesore for tourists."
"But as a low-income renter, Carter has limited options. And as a gay black man, he's concerned his choice of senior living facilities might be narrowed further by the possibility of intolerant residents or staff members."
"After all, it was just months ago that Pedersen and other low-income residents of the Tree House Luxury Apartments nearly found out what life would be like without those comforts."
"Jewish volunteers from one Vernon Hills congregation staff an overnight shelter every Christmas Eve so that their Christian counterparts can stay home and enjoy the holiday.
In Oak Brook, two 13-year-old friends -- he is Jewish, she is Hindu -- have created and delivered a cookbook that benefits the DuPage County homeless service."
"More than 50 people on Wednesday evening attended the first Homeless Persons' Memorial Day service held in St. Clair County. The service was held at the St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville in memory of homeless people who died in the metro-east during 2011."
"The number of O'Fallon residents living below the federal poverty level has nearly doubled in the past decade — outpacing a dramatic population boom and causing more than 1 in 10 local students' families to live in poverty."
"It's a labor rooted in fascination with and empathy for the homeless that began when he moved to Lincoln Park after graduating from Vassar College, north of New York City.
Like most of his college classmates, Devine prided himself on "being extraordinarily liberal and compassionate," he said. But he had never seen poverty's face. Stunned by the homelessness just outside his front door when he moved back to Chicago, he bought a tape recorder and started interviewing homeless people about their lives."
"The capital dollars also will go toward school safety programs, early childhood learning initiatives in low-income communities and improving technology. CPS also plans to build a school on the Southeast Side."
"States also are required to offer recognition or even financial rewards for schools that largely serve low-income students and show the most improvement. States also must adopt the learning standards to judge whether students are ready for college and put in place teacher and principal evaluation systems that measure educators, in part, on the academic progress of their students -- both steps that Illinois has taken."
"A survey of 29 cities shows hunger has risen in most of them in the past year and is expected to increase in 2012 as the nation faces a sluggish economy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said Thursday. Homelessness also rose an average of 6 percent for the surveyed cities, with the increase in homeless families far outpacing the number for individuals."
"Joblessness and poverty in Illinois have left 12.5 percent of the residents in the food bank's service area struggling to meet basic food needs. One in four children in northern Illinois is at risk of going hungry, according to recent studies by Feeding America, the Chicago-based national food bank association."
"It makes you less ignorant -- you're not just living in a bubble," said Schaumburg High senior Brittany Tamason, who said she knows of some Schaumburg kids who won't even travel to downtown Chicago, let alone to Harvey, which is plagued by high poverty and a high crime rate.
"The City Colleges of Chicago will announce Monday that it is partnering with private industry and academic institutions to provide mentors, train faculty and develop curricula to help prepare its students for jobs in aviation, hospitality, health care and information technology and other industries that are in need of job candidates."
"As a now independent conservative who grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless as a child, I am always amused, saddened or horrified when certain academics, politicians or candidates pontificate on problems and solutions to poverty from their tenured positions or after just stepping off a corporate jet."
"The state unemployment rate, measured at 10.1 percent in October, is almost twice as high as it was in December 2007, before the recession, the Social Impact Research Center found. And about 14 percent of Illinois residents now live at or below the poverty line, compared to 12 percent before the recession."
"Well, the folks at General Growth Management have made sure those needy children at New Sullivan will each receive a Christmas gift, thanks to the company's participation in the Chicago Sun-Times' annual 'Season of Sharing' program."
“[H]omeless patrons often gather there in the hours before a nearby shelter opens at 7 p.m. Sometimes their eyes grow heavy -- especially as the days turn gloomy and colder and a comfortable library chair beckons. Libraries tend to frown on behavior that disrupts other patrons, and that can include sleeping. But Lombard's Helen Plum Memorial Library is considering changing its rules to allow sleeping as long as it doesn't disturb others. Unofficially, it has already done so.”
“[Second-graders in Northwest Side Chicago public schools are] among the more than 13,000 needy children from dozens of city schools, social service agencies, homeless shelters and other nonprofits who have written to Santa this year, hoping compassionate Sun-Times readers will once again open their hearts.”
"Monroe County has one of the lowest poverty rates in the Midwest, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's small area income and poverty estimates for local school districts and counties across the nation."
"On a national level, the poverty rate for the elderly (65 and older) is 9 percent using the traditional measure, and 16 percent using a supplemental measure (developed by the Census Bureau). If we were to apply the supplemental measure to poverty levels in Chicago, the rate would be above 20 percent."
"It's astonishing enough that notoriously picky high schoolers would have something nice to say about the food in their cafeteria. But these meals containing premium ingredients are provided for free to low-income students or sold for $2.25 at most."
"The percentage of Americans living in "extreme poverty" is growing, reaching the highest level ever recorded. In 2010, more than 20 million Americans, one out of every 15, were living in extreme poverty, defined as those with incomes of 50 percent or less of the poverty level."
"There are 93,000 homeless Chicagoans, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, and many consider panhandling a necessity of life on the streets."
"More than 10,000 homeless students are enrolled in Chicago's classrooms this fall, a 16 percent increase over last year and a record high, according to Chicago Public Schools data for September."
"We're referring to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision Wednesday to move to partially restore middle-of-the-night van service to homeless shelters for desperate Chicagoans. The scaled-back van service would operate from midnight to 8 a.m. from mid-November until spring at a cost of $200,000. He wants a City Council vote on restoring the limited service later this month."
"The head of the city's Department of Family and Support Services had a Marie Antoinette moment on Monday - when she suggested that homeless Chicagoans who need overnight transport this winter 'take a cab' to emergency shelters."
"Despite a fifteen percent reduction to its 2012 budget, the city’s Department of Family and Support Services is planning to open a second overnight shelter for homeless youth."
"Given a student population that is 86 percent low-income and behind academically, it is shameful how long Chicago has carried on with a diminished schedule. Emanuel has gone after the longer-day prize in his signature, take-no-prisoners way."
"Two-thirds of schools failed to make increasingly difficult federal progress targets under the No Child Left Behind law. This year, to hit the target, 85 percent of a school's students - and subgroups such as special education or low-income students - had to pass their tests."
"What has changed in the past decade is there's a renewed public understanding that not graduating from high school has deeply negative consequences for the individual and the family, especially when it comes to escaping generational poverty and finding gainful employment with family-supporting wages,' Smith said."
"The Illinois state standardized test results released today show the gap in performance between different groups of students is narrowing at the elementary school level, particularly because of gains among African-American, special education and low-income students. "
"“That’s a lot of children — roughly the size of Naperville,” Gallagher said. “If all of those children loaded onto school buses, the buses would line up bumper-to-bumper from President Obama’s house in Hyde Park, make a stop at City Hall and travel on to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house in Ravenswood.”"
"The U.S. Census Bureau provides evidence that America is in the grip of a poverty pandemic, as the occupiers would have it: Last year, more than 15 percent of our country's population -- or about 46.2 million -- lived in poverty. By anyone's measure, occupiers or die-hard capitalists, that's unacceptable."
"For the first time in at least 10 years, Elmhurst's Conrad Fischer Elementary School posted a 90 percent passing rate, though it faces challenges uncommon in some other affluent school districts. Fischer has the highest percentage of low-income students among District 205 schools."
"One major misperception, Park said, is that low-income people don't own smartphones. She pointed out that carriers such as Cricket Communications offer Android devices on no-contract plans and that for many residents, a mobile device is the primary way they connect to the Internet."
"Local residents once called the far western stretch of Madison Street the downtown of the West Side. That was before the race riots and factory closings of the late 1960s sent this area around the thriving commercial corridor into a tailspin of population loss, poverty, crime and blight."
"Teachers at Voise Academy and other schools where technology is central to the curriculum said the Comcast plan is a way to help remove a family's low income as a barrier to educational success."
"The U.S. Agriculture Departmentdefines it as a census district where at least 20 percent of the inhabitants are below the poverty line and 33 percentlive more than a mile from the nearest supermarket."
"About 36 percent of the people considered food insecure in Cook County earn more than the poverty level and are not eligible for food stamps or other government programs, the report shows. According to federal guidelines, a family of four is considered under the poverty line if their annual income is $22,350 or less."
"Low-income Chicago households with children under 5 years old may now apply for help with energy bills during the second phase of an assistance program. Peoples Gas also urges people to apply who need help reconnecting their service or replacing or repairing a furnace."
"But the school, where nearly all students are from low-income families, still has a long way to go. Principal Cynthia Miller supported the move to a longer day to give teachers and their students more time to focus on math, reading and science."
"Three years ago, Katrina Lias was homeless and living in a women's shelter with her 3-year-old daughter, Kennedy. Her job as a health aide provided a salary, but she didn't make enough to afford a home of her own."
"Besides the theft allegation, the Better Government Association cites cronyism, conflicts of interest and poor management for turning an agency that was supposed to help low-income residents obtain affordable housing into a golden goose that was allegedly providing perks for friends."
"A 56-unit apartment complex for low-income senior citizens is being planned for a South Side neighborhood where some residents are fighting a rent-to-own housing project by the same developer. NRP Group of Cleveland wants to build the three-story brick and vinyl-sided building on city-owned property just west of Parsons Avenue, near where the city will build a health clinic."
"'They're starting to lose their extensions to unemployment benefits, and that means they drop into the welfare rolls if they can qualify,' said Mesirow Financial Chief Economist Diane Swonk... "They're trying to take any job at any wage, which means they're becoming part of the ranks of the working poor.'"
"Quinn took the advice and, two years later, is one of the leaders of the Second Chance Coffee Co., a business born out of a desire to help ex-prisoners land on their feet. Quinn, 47, said the company did that and gave him a renewed sense of self-worth. But the result of his father's words convinced him a divine influence had reached into his life."