McKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS ASSISTANCE ACT
Congress reauthorized in January of 2002 the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Subtitle VII-B, originally passed in 1987 to help people experiencing homelessness.. This federal law includes the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program that entitles children who are homeless to a free, appropriate public education and requires schools to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance, and success in school. This Act protects all students who do not have a fixed, regular and adequate residence, such as students living in the following situations:
- doubled-up housing with other families or friends due to hardship;
- runaway/homeless youth shelters (even if parents invite the youth home);
- hotels or motels;
- shelters, including domestic violence shelters;
- transitional housing shelters;
- cars, abandoned buildings parks, the streets or other public spaces;
- campgrounds or inadequate trailer homes
- awaiting foster care placement; and/or
- abandoned in a hospital.
Some key provisions in this federal law are listed below:
- Every LEA must designate a homeless education liaison/coordinator to assist families and school personnel in ensuring that students who are homeless can enroll and succeed in school.
- Schools must immediately enroll students experiencing homelessness, even if they do not have proof of residency, school and immunization records, birth certificates or other documents, and even if they are not accompanied by an adult.
- A student in a homeless situation has the right to stay in his/her school of origin even if (s)he moves out of the district.
- The LEA must arrange transportation for students experiencing homelessness even if the students temporary housing arrangement is out of the district.
- Students experiencing homelessness are eligible, based on individual need, for services provided to other students such as preschool, free or reduced school meals, services for English language learners, special education, vocational/technical education, gifted and talented services, and before- and after-school care.
- Students in homeless situations are automatically eligible for Title I services.
- If there is disagreement as to whether a student experiencing homelessness is eligible to attend the school (s)he chooses (between school of origin and school in the district of his/her new temporary residence), the school district is to provide a written explanation as to why they believe the student is not eligible and allow the student to go to the school (s)he chooses while such disagreements are settled. The LEA liaison/ coordinator is responsible for settling such disagreements.
- Students in homeless situations are to attend schools with children who are not experiencing homelessness rather than be placed in separate schools because they are homeless.
- Students experiencing homelessness are to have the opportunity to meet the same high academic achievement standards as all students.
Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator for Homeless Education Carol Arnold, Consultant
National Center for Homeless Education Macon County Schools
SERVE Center at UNCG 1202 Old Murphy Road
336.315.7491 or 1.800.755.3277 Franklin, NC 28734
Website: http://www.serve.org/hepnc/ 828-524-3314
Helpline: 800.308.2145 firstname.lastname@example.org