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Homeless Education

Homeless Education Rights

The McKinney-Vento Act requires educational access, attendance, and success for homeless children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act authorizes the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program and is the primary piece of federal legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It was reauthorized in December 2015 by Title IX, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Definition - children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth:

  • sharing housing (doubled up with relatives or friends) – due to loss of housing or economic hardship, or similar reason

  • living in motels, hotels, or camping grounds due to lack of adequate housing

  • living in emergency or transitional shelter

  • living in a car, park, or other public place, bus/train station, or abandoned building

Unaccompanied Youth – There is a 2-step process for determining if a youth is an UHY (unaccompanied homeless youth):

  1. Does the student’s living arrangement meet the McKinney-Vento’s definition of homeless?

  2. Once homelessness is determined, is the student unaccompanied.

Unaccompanied – “not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian”; in practical terms, this means the youth does not live with the parent or guardian. Runaways are considered to be homeless.

Where can a child or youth without a fixed, regular, and adequate residence attend school?

  • the school the child or youth attended before becoming homeless, or was last enrolled (school of origin.

  • the school in the attendance area in which the child or youth is currently living.

Requirements (school age and younger)

  1. Enroll students immediately in local school (even when lacking documentation such as POR, guardianship, birth certificates, school records, immunizations, physical, etc.) or

  2. Maintain student in school of origin when in the student’s best interest.

  3. Includes transportation (even across division lines) if needed.

  4. Students who are experiencing homelessness automatically qualify for free breakfast and lunch.

Contact Felicia Preston, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, at 276.403.5833 if you have questions or visit Project Hope.