Homeless & Foster Youth Supports

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was created with the goal of ensuring the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in school. The McKinney-Vento Act provides certain rights for homeless students. This includes waiving certain requirements such as proof of residency when students are enrolling and allowing eligibility for certain services, such as free textbooks.

When families and students find themselves in transition due to their housing situation, it is important that they know their rights regarding education. If students meet the requirements as stated in the McKinney-Vento Act (42 U.S.C 11431 et seq., Title VII, Subtitle B), their rights are as follows:

  • Students may attend their school of origin or the school where they are temporarily residing.

  • Students must be provided a written statement of their rights when they enroll and at least two additional times per year.

  • Students may enroll without school, medical or similar records.

  • Students have a right to transportation to school.

  • Students must be provided a statement explaining why they are denied enrollment or any other services.

  • Students must receive services, such as transportation, while disputes are being settled.

  • Students are automatically eligible for Title I services.

    • Educational services for which the homeless student meets eligibility criteria including services provided under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or similar State or local programs, educational programs for students with limited English proficiency.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, people living in the following situations are considered homeless:

  • Doubled up with family or friends due to loss of housing or economic hardship

  • Living in motels and hotels for lack of other suitable housing

  • Runaway and displaced children and youth – Unaccompanied Youth

  • Homes for unwed or expectant mothers for lack of a place to live

  • Homeless and domestic violence shelters

  • Transitional housing programs

  • The streets

  • Abandoned buildings

  • Public places not meant for housing

  • Cars, trailers (does not include mobile homes intended for permanent housing), and campgrounds

  • Awaiting foster care

  • Migratory children staying in housing not fit for habitation

"...At Volunteers of America, we are more than a nonprofit organization. We are a ministry of service that includes nearly 16,000 paid, professional employees dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential..."

"...Transitional or supportive housing and homeless shelters can help stabilize people with mental health issues and substance use disorders who are experiencing homelessness..."

"...The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in the United States. We use research and data to find solutions to homelessness; we work with federal and local partners to create a solid base of policy and resources that support those solutions; and then we help communities implement them.."

"....Many of us see the warning signs before we become homeless. Yet homelessness can happen suddenly. Rent eats up 30 to 50 percent of most people’s salary, so perhaps one month, you fall behind. Then two months go by, and you can’t seem to catch up. Most of us are only one or two paychecks away from homeless..."

** some information is specific to DC, but it has quite a bit of universal information.

"...The HUD Exchange is an online platform for providing program information, guidance, services, and tools to HUD's community partners, including state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, Continuums of Care (CoCs), Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), tribes, and partners of these organizations. .."

** Links to several sites for crisis of basic needs.