Some students and families within Chicago Public Schools will be eligible for $500 “microgrants” from the city to help cover the cost of educational and living expenses, officials announced.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and interim Chicago Public Schools CEO Jose Torres on Thursday unveiled a new Chicago Families Forward Fund, which they say will distribute more than $9 million in assistance to CPS families before the end of the fall semester.
“Throughout this pandemic, our students and their families have experienced a number of traumas including the loss of employment, housing and even loved ones,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “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.”
The fund will use CARES Act dollars, and will be jointly administered by the city, CPS and the Children First Fund.
According to the city, students in temporary living situations, known as STLS, will be eligible to receive a one-time $500 check that can be picked up at their school. Families with multiple eligible students can receive an equal number of grants.
Officials say 98% of students within CPS who are affected by homelessness are children of color. The goal of these grants, city officials say, is to help students and their families handle any financial challenges while also allowing them to re-engage with their schools and communities.
“STLS students and families were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and providing them with additional financial assistance will go a long way in helping them access the additional support they need,” Torres said in a statement.
Eligible families can register for a grant online at www.cps.edu/FamiliesForwardFund by Oct. 1, or pick up a paper registration form at their child’s school.
Note: This story was originally published Sept. 9, 2021. It has been updated to include our “Chicago Tonight: Black Voices” conversation.