Realtor group hosting fundraiser for homeless D211 students
When Cindy Eich discovered more than 150 Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 students were identified as homeless in the 2010-11 school year, she felt a personal connection to the students and a need to help.
"It was something that I was certainly seeing in my business," said Eich, who is a real estate agent for RE/MAX at Home. "I thought 'Boy, this is such a great match for the real estate community.'"
On Thursday, a new group that Eich helped organize called Realtors Against Homelessness, or RAH, and the District 211 Foundation are hosting a fundraiser from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at John Barleycorn, 1100 American Lane, Schaumburg, to support the increasing number of homeless District 211 students.
Tickets are $25 and include food and two drink tickets. There will also be a live auction, raffle and door prizes.
"Anything that we can do at this point will be a great success," said Eich, who also serves as a trustee for the District 211 Foundation.
The group, which was formed in August, currently consists of 10 people who work for Coldwell Banker, Prudential Starck, Baird & Warner, Keller Williams Realty, RE/MAX Suburban and RE/MAX At Home.
Eich said she has worked recently with a number of homeowners struggling to keep their houses and noticed that when children are involved, parents work hard to give them stability though school, as it often provides them with a sense of home.
"It was always the highest priority for them to keep their children in the schools that they loved," Eich said.
District 211 spokesman Tom Petersen said the number of homeless students is "constantly changing" but that the annual number for has increased over the past few years.
Petersen said in the 2008-09 school year, 71 District 211 students were classified as homeless, with 30 falling in the category as of Nov. 1, 2008. In the 2009-10 school year, 169 students were classified homeless, with 65 named by Nov. 1, 2009. Last school year, the total came to 151 students, with 105 of them classified by Nov. 1, 2010.
As of today, there are 157 homeless students in District 211, and that number is expected to rise by the end of the school year, Petersen said.
According to federal laws, students are considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; if they share the housing of others due to losing housing from economic hardship; or if they are unaccompanied youth who are forced to find alternate shelter because they are unable to live in their home.
No final decisions have been made on what the money raised at the fundraiser will be used for, but some ideas that have been discussed include buying gift certificates for groceries and gasoline, paying for extracurricular activities, or providing clothes, school supplies and other necessities to homeless District 211 students and their families.
Eich added that the group realizes the problem is affecting other school districts, and that members hope to help more area schools in the future.
"This is a group that we hope will continue to work to support issues that relate to homelessness in our community and we hope to grow," she said.
For more information on the fundraiser and Realtors Against Homelessness, visit 211Foundation.org.