CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– Schools across Central Illinois are working to provide much needed services for students who don’t have their own place to call home. Districts say the pandemic has made that goal a lot harder to achieve, but there are people wanting to help.
“Especially for kids in schools, having a house to call home, going to bed in the same bed every night is key to their development. It’s key to their education, and it’s key to their all around happiness,” said Andy Quarnstrom, City of Champaign Township Supervisor. The City of Champaign Township Supervisor says there is already a way to get families into homes, but there needs to be better communication with agencies to make it happen. Quarnstrom says he has a plan to end homelessness in Champaign Schools.
“We want to work with Unit 4 schools to a greater extent to be sure they are able to target the families that need assistance and smoothly get them to our offices to ensure we can provide them assistance. It’s not as simple as that of course, but really it boils down to a coordinated effort with the partners we’ve already built,” said Quarnstrom.
There’s also a problem in Vermilion County. “We have some families that have just had to double up with others or recently we had a family that had came to our county in an RV and had to get some resources and housing,” said Tricia Keith with the Vermilion County Regional Office of Education.
They have 265 students identified as homeless in Vermilion County, but she says that number should probably he higher. “The pandemic has made it so much harder to identify our students because we have so many that are on remote, so we’re not seeing them on the day to day basis,” said Keith.
People who need help should reach out to their district for help. The Vermilion County Regional Office of Education says there are resources for those who need them.