JAYME ROBINSON

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

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NEAR EAST SIDE

During my senior year of high school, I came out as queer to my family and as a result was kicked out of my home. The loss of stable housing was a debilitating experience for me –it jeopardized my health and my education.  A counselor enrolled me in the Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) program to access resources and support so I could continue my education. Upon enrolling, I learned that a number of my peers were also experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. I realized this was a much bigger problem that had less to do with personal choices and more to do with failing systems. I became motivated to take action.

"The policy removes barriers to enrollment, attendance, and retention and establishes a variety of supports, including transportation, fee waivers, and tutoring."

I joined the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) and their HomeWorks campaign through which I advocated with other young people for the successful adoption of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Policy. This policy seeks to ensure the over 20,000 homeless students in Chicago Public Schools, like me, have full access to a high-quality education.

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The policy removes barriers to enrollment, attendance, and retention and establishes a variety of supports, including transportation, fee waivers, and tutoring. Now as a college graduate I serve as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer at CCH. In this role I developed a program for students in the STLS program that provides in-school academic and social support for participants, and an opportunity for the students to use their voices to make social change. I am committed to lifting up the voices of young people experiencing homelessness and advance policies that remove barriers to their success.