Who is Homeless?
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, you are considered homeless if you live in any of the following:
- Sharing housing (doubled up) with family or friends due to economic or other hardship reasons
- In a shelter, transitional living program, hotel/motel, or campground
- On the street, in a car, in an abandoned building or other inadequate accommodations
Rights of Homeless Children and Youth
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures that all homeless children and youth, school-age and preschool-age, have the right to a free appropriate public education without barriers. In particular, homeless children and youth have the right to:
- attend school, regardless of where they live (i.e. shelter, hotel)
- remain at the school they attended before becoming homeless (school of origin) when it is in his/her best interest and when it is the choice of the parent/guardian. If a parent/guardian’s choice is not honored, they must be notified, in writing, of this decision and the reason for the decision. Parent/guardians have the right to appeal a decision that is against their wishes.
- receive transportation back to the school of origin or the school last attended before becoming homeless, if requested by parent/guardian.
- enroll in school without delay, even if do not have documents normally required for enrollment, such as school transcripts, medical records, and immunization records.
- enroll in school without providing a permanent address and without proof of residency.
- enroll and attend the school of choice, even during the dispute resolution or appeal process.
- attend a school and participate in school activities and programs with children and youth who are not homeless. Homeless children and youth must not be segregated.
- receive the same access to special programs (special education, At-Risk, Gifted and Talented, etc.) as non-homeless children and youth.
Services Available to Homeless Children and Youth:
In order to remove barriers to education, a number of services are available to homeless children and youth. These services include:
- school nutrition programs
- tutorial programs
- enrollment assistance
- ESL services
- translation services
- school health services
- Title I services and programs
- special education programs/programs for students with disabilities
- vocational and technical programs
- alternative and At risk Programs
- gifted and talented programs
- referral to social services agencies that can assist homeless families with basic needs.
Resources and Information on Homelessness
Resources Hotline for Families
(414) 773-0211 or 211
Department of Public Instruction State Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youth
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
phone: (952) 945-0228
fax: (952) 9526
National Center for Homeless Education