This Act includes children and youth who are:
● Temporarily sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
● Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations
● Living in emergency or transitional shelters
● Abandoned in hospitals
● Using a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation as a primary nighttime residence
● Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus/train stations, or similar settings
Any services provided to students meeting the above criteria are also available to refugee or migratory children and youth in any of the above situations as well as youth not in the custody of any parent or guardian (unaccompanied youth).
This Act guarantees homeless children and youth the following:
Have you recently lost housing and had to move in with friends or family until you can get back on your feet?
Your child’s school is here to help to make sure that he/she gets all the benefits provided under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act.
Who qualifies for this help?
The law states any student that does not have a fixed, regular, and adequate place to sleep at night qualifies for educational assistance. This includes students and families that stay at a shelter, on the street, in a car or abandoned building. Families that have lost their housing and are temporarily living with friends or relatives because they cannot afford their own place also qualify.
Choice of Schools
Changing schools frequently can negatively impact students’ education, causing them to fall behind. Students that qualify for educational assistance through the McKinney-Vento Act can stay at the school they have been attending or transfer to the district in which they are temporarily staying. The caregiver of the student will make the choice. This does not mean you can go to any school. It has to be one of the schools noted above. Once you and your family become permanently housed, your student may finish the school year at his/her current school or transfer to the new district. Your school’s liaison can assist you in whichever decision you make for your student.
School districts are required to enroll McKinney-Vento eligible students without delay even if you do not have your student’s school or medical records. If you need assistance getting educational or medical records, ask to speak with the district’s liaison. They will assist you.
If you, as the caregiver, choose for your student to remain at the home school, the school district will work with you on transportation options. If the ride to school is estimated to be more than one hour, the district or liaison can request a meeting with you to determine how this may affect your student’s education.
Free Lunch & School Fees
Because of your unstable housing situation, your student is eligible to receive a free lunch each day, and if the district provides a breakfast program, that will also be provided at no cost. In addition, your student should not be charged to attend school. This includes books, locks, gym uniforms, class fees, sports programs, and graduation fees.
Children under the age of five (5) may qualify for educational services. Speak with your liaison or district’s early childhood staff for available programs in your area. Studies show PreK programs can help children get off to a good start in school.
If you have any questions regarding the McKinney Vento Act or are unsure whether your child would be classified as a McKinney Vento Student, please contact the District 45 Liaison, Dr. Brian Graber at [email protected].
The following websites can provide helpful resources for at-risk of experiencing homelessness or are currently homeless: