The federal McKinney-Vento Act guarantees school enrollment for anyone who, due to a lack of housing, does not have a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
Who is considered homeless?
Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act defines homelessness as living in the following places due to lack of a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence
- In an emergency or transitional shelter
- In a motel, hotel, or campground
- In a car, park, public place, bus or train station, or abandoned building
- Doubled up with relatives or friends
- In the above conditions and is a migratory child or youth
The definition of homelessness applies to children and youth with:
- Uncertain housing
- A temporary address
- No permanent physical address
Children and youth living in these settings meet criteria for the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness and have special educational rights. They can attend the school they attended before becoming homeless, or the school in the attendance area where they are currently living.
To avoid delays when enrolling a student experiencing homelessness:
- Enroll student immediately
- Contact the previous school and ask that the records be sent electronically or shared over the phone
- Contact the principal, school counselor, or local homeless education liaison with any concerns
- Contact the local homeless education liaison to support unaccompanied youth when enrolling in school