Families in Transition banner
  • What is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act?

    The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law created to support the enrollment and education of homeless students. McKinney-Vento is intended to provide homeless students with the same educational opportunities as housed students by removing as many barriers to learning for homeless students as possible.

    What are some of the rights that are afforded to students and school districts through McKinney-Vento?

    1. Transportation to and from school and extracurriculars, free of charge. This includes ensuring specific busing for homeless students so they can stay at the school they were attending before they became homeless.
    2. Children experiencing homelessness have the right to attend their school of origin (the school they attended when they first became homeless) even if they are not residing in the area anymore.
    3. Schools must enroll children immediately even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.
    4. States must designate a statewide homeless coordinator to review policies and create procedures that affect homeless students.
    5. Local school districts must appoint Education Liaisons to ensure that school staff are aware of these rights, to provide public notice to homeless families, and to facilitate access to school and transportation services.


    How does McKinney-Vento define homelessness?

    The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This definition includes (but is not limited to) children who are:

    • sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing (e.g. doubled-up)
    • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or campgrounds
    • living in emergency or transitional shelters
    • sleeping in places unfit for human habitation (e.g. park benches)
    • living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, etc.

    How can McKinney-Vento funds be used to assist students?

    Examples include, but are not limited to:

    1. Tutors or other academic support
    2. Basic school supplies
    3. Transportation to and from school and extracurricular activities
    4. Specialized training and professional development for teachers and other school staffers