Homeless Assistance Program
After receiving reports that up to 50% of homeless children were not attending school, Congress established the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. President Ronald Regan signed it into law on July 22, 1987. The McKinney-Vento Act was created with the goal of ensuring the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in school. It provides states with funding to help remove barriers to education.
Who is Homeless?
Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence:
- "Double up" - Sharing the housing of others due to the loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons.
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations.
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
- Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live.
- Migratory children living in above circumstances
- Awaiting foster care placement
- Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
- Unaccompanied Youth - Children or youth who meets the definition of homeless and not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian
Residency and Educational Rights
Students who are in temporary, inadequate and homeless living situations have the following rights:
- Immediate enrollment in the school they last attended or the school in whose attendance area they are currently staying even if they do not have all of the documents normally required at the time of enrollment;
- Access to free meals and textbooks, Title I and other educational programs and other comparable services including transportation;
- Attendance in the same classes and activities that students in other living situations also participate in without fear of being separated or treated differently due to their housing situations.