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Introduction to the McKinney-Vento Homeless act Federal Programs Conference September 27-29, 2009 Welcome! Donna Cash, Supervisor McKinney-Vento & Even Start Programs Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Discretionary Grants PO Box 480 Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480

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introduction to the mckinney vento homeless act

Introduction to the McKinney-Vento Homeless act

Federal Programs Conference

September 27-29, 2009


Donna Cash, Supervisor

McKinney-Vento & Even Start Programs

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Discretionary Grants

PO Box 480

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480

(573) 522-8763

how many children and youth experience homelessness
How many children and youth experience homelessness?
  • 1.35 million children
  • 10% of all children living in poverty
  • 733,000-1.3 million youths
  • Over 40% of all children who are homeless are under the age of 5

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

homeless definition under mckinney vento
Homeless definition under McKinney-Vento

As specified in the statute, the term “homeless” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

If the residence is not fixed, regular, and adequate,

it is considered a homeless situation.

main themes of mckinney vento
Main themes of McKinney-Vento
  • School stability-they can continue to go to their school of origin where they have built relationships
  • School access-no barriers to enrollment
  • Support for academic success-providing services if needed
  • When making decisions for our homeless students, we need to ask ourselves—
  • “What is in the child’s best interest?”
  • First and foremost decisions must be child-centered.
problems commonly faced by children living in homeless situations
Problems commonly faced by children living in homeless situations
  • Enrollment requirements – may not have:
    • School or immunization records
    • Proof of residence or guardianship
    • Other records needed for enrollment
  • They have high mobility
    • Results in a lack of school stability and educational continuity
  • Lack of transportation, school supplies, clothing, etc.
  • Poor health, fatigue, hunger
  • Prejudice and misunderstanding

The causes of Homelessness include but are not limited to…

  • Divorce
  • Automobile related
  • Domestic violence
  • Illness
  • Job loss
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Lack of child support
  • Natural disaster (fires, floods, tornados)
  • What other causes can you think of?
students living in homeless situations face fear every day

Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances. These circumstances require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs.

  • It is not something that you can plan for.
    • What happens if you lose your job?
    • Are diagnosed with a long-term illness?
    • Have a fire in your home?
    • Ask yourself, “How long could my savings last?”

Students living in homeless situations face fear every day.

ask yourself
Ask yourself…
  • “Does the student’s living situationcreate a high risk to his consistent enrollment or participation in a particular school?”
  • If the answer is “yes,”
  • the McKinney-Vento Act
  • may very well apply.
the nature of the beast
“The Nature of the Beast”
  • Determining eligibility is a case-by-case determination made by examining the living arrangement of each individual student.
  • Some instances will be clear-cut; others will require further inquiry and then a judgment call.
  • Determinations of eligibility cannot delay immediate enrollment and the prompt provision of services for MV students.

Examples of Homelessness

  • sharing the housing of others
  • living in motels, hotels, camping grounds
  • living in an emergency or transitional shelter
  • awaiting foster care placement
  • living in places not designed for humans to live
  • living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations
  • migratory children also qualify as homeless when living under these same conditions
what is the definition of an unaccompanied youth
What is the definition of an Unaccompanied Youth?

An Unaccompanied Youth who is considered homeless is someone who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian andwho meets the criteria for homelessness in the definition.


A youth can be eligible regardless of whether he/she was asked to leave the home or chose to leave; remember that sometimes there is “more than meets the eye” for youth’s home life situations.


Examples of possible UY Scenarios

  • Youth that was asked to leave home by a parent.
  • Youth has been forced to leave home by parent(s), may have run away.
  • Youth has chosen to leave home to live with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Immigrant youth—parents deported or parents send children here to live.
  • Youth whose parent(s) are in jail, in the hospital, etc.
questions you may need to ask
Questions you may need to ask
  • Does the student have any legal rights to be in that home? In other words, can he/she be asked to leave at any time with no legal recourse?
  • Is the living situation intended to be temporary or long-term?
  • Did the student move into the home as an urgent
  • measure to avoid being on the street or in another precarious situation?

Do students need guardianship papers

or other documentation?

No, school districts must enroll youth in school even if they

do not have guardianship documents or POA


The decision to seek legal guardianship or power of

attorney does not impact whether or not a school should

enroll a youth.


What if a student has been suspended for misbehavior from his/her former school?

Must the school enroll this student?

The McKinney-Vento Act does not overrule state or local discipline

policies. If a youth is suspended for behavior unrelated to his or

her homelessness, regular enrollment procedures apply.

If discipline action was taken against a youth for reasons related

to homelessness (for example, excessive absences caused by

homelessness), the youth should not be penalized or denied

enrollment and the policy should be revised.



Homeless verification can be handled in such a way that it does not violate privacy or jeopardize housing arrangements. It is up to the local liaison, enrollment staff, and/or other school personnel to be sensitive and discreet.


Enrollment continued…

  • Remember all such efforts must be grounded in sensitivity and respect.
  • Invasive probing may destabilize the family or youth further and may create a barrier to the student’s enrollment, thereby violating the McKinney-Vento Act.
  • Additionally, employing these techniques may violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • Do put good policies and procedures in place
  • Keep it positive and supportive instead of invasive and threatening
  • Talk with parents and students
  • Do sign the student up for free lunch
  • Get contact information for a family member or guardian


  • Threaten or harass parents or students, violate their privacy, or jeopardize their housing
  • Pose barriers to enrollment
school of origin or school of residence

School Selection

School of origin or school of residence
  • The school of residence is the current physical dwelling where the homeless child or youth is sleeping.
  • The school of origin is the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled.

School Selection continued…

  • Students can continue attending their school of origin the entire time they are homeless and until the end of any academic year in which they move into permanent housing.
  • If a student is sent to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or guardian, the LEA must provide the parent or guardian with a written explanation of its decision and the right to appeal.
  • School District cannot segregate homeless students
    • They cannot have separate programs within the
    • school.
    • Or have separate settings within the school.

Every LEA must…

  • Designate an appropriate staff person as a local homeless education liaison
      • The homeless liaison must work to ensure that homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free public education as is provided to other children and youth.
duties of the local liaison
Duties of the Local Liaison
  • Must collaborate and coordinate with the State Coordinators for Homeless Education, community personnel, and other school personnel
    • Ensure that children and youth in homeless situations are identified.
    • Ensure that homeless students enroll in and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school.
    • Use enrollment and withdrawal forms to inquire about living situations.
    • Resolve disputes
    • Inform parents/guardians or youth of education and parent involvement opportunities.

Duties of the Local Liaisoncontinued…

  • Link students with educational services.
  • Inform parents/guardians or youth of transportation services, including the school of origin.
  • Post public notice of educational rights.
  • Make special efforts to identify preschool children.
  • Provide awareness activities for school staff.
  • Provide outreach materials and posters
  • Educate school staff about “warning signs” that may indicate an enrolled child or youth may be experiencing homelessness.
  • Develop relationships with truancy officials and/or other attendance officers.
  • Homeless students must be provided with transportation to and from their school of origin.
  • For unaccompanied youth, transportation to and from the school of origin must be provided at the local liaison’s request.
  • If the student is living outside the school of origin, the LEA where the student is living and the school of origin must determine how to divide the cost of providing transportation.
  • Transportation must also be provided for homeless students when comparable services are provided to other students.

Dispute Resolution

  • Every school district in Missouri must establish dispute resolution procedures.
  • When a dispute over enrollment arises, the student must be admitted immediately to the school of choice while the dispute is being resolved.
  • Liaisons must ensure unaccompanied youth are enrolled immediately while the dispute is being resolved.

Dispute Resolution continued…

  • If a dispute arises, refer the child, youth, parent, or guardian to the liaison to carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.
  • Because Missouri’s Dispute Resolution Process is governed by a strict timeline, it is imperative that the local liaison act on disputes in a timely manner.
  • Documentation should be kept for all local liaison interventions with parents—not just formal disputes (NCLB).


Title I and McKinney-Vento

  • A child or youth who is homeless and is attending any school in the district is automatically eligible for Title IA services.
  • LEAs must reserve (or set aside) funds.
  • Title I funds may notbe used to transport homeless children and youth.
use of title i funds
Use of Title I funds
  • Before/after school, and/or summer programs
  • Outreach services
  • Basic needs
  • Counseling services
  • Supplemental instruction
  • Local liaison
  • Parental involvement programs
  • Research-based programs
  • Data collection
title i and homeless set aside
Title I and Homeless Set aside

Method #1—

Reserve the set aside amount on what you would be eligible for if you were applying for a McKinney-Vento subgrant.

Method #2—

Reserve the set aside amount based on a percentage.

Method #3—

Reserve the set aside amount based on your homeless student count and Title I, Part A per-pupil allocation.

Method #4—

Reserve the set aside amount based on homeless student’s needs.


Statistically, 10% of children living in poverty will experience homelessness within any given year.*

Using your free/reduced lunch count, you could estimate the number of students in your district who may experience homelessness this school year.

For example:

Your free/reduced lunch count =100 students

10% of whom could become homeless =10 students

Your Title IA per pupil allocation is $869

Using this method, your Title IA Homeless set-aside would be: $8,690.00

*Burt, Martha and Laudan, Aron. American’s Homeless II: Populations and Services, The Urban Institute, 2000.

homeless census
Homeless Census
  • The information collected includes:
        • Name of homeless student
        • Grade level
        • Primary night time residence
  • Night time Residence Definition
        • Not Homeless (NH)
        • Shelters (SH)
        • Unsheltered (US)
        • Doubled Up (DU)
        • Hotel/Motel (HM)
school lunches
School Lunches
  • Homeless children and youth automatically qualify for the Free and Reduced lunch program.
    • They do not have to have a parent/guardian signature.
    • Forms can be completed by the building principal, school food personnel, or the homeless liaison.

Early Childhood (Head Start) and


Head Start reauthorization includes a definition of homelessness that matches the definition of homelessness in the education subtitle of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which governs public schools.

  • Homeless children are categorically eligible for Head Start
    • [42 U.S.C. 9840(a)(1)(B)].
  • Implies that verification of homeless living situation suffices.
  • Under McKinney-Vento, determinations of eligibility are case-by-case, individualized.

Homeless Education and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will provide approximately $100 billion for education, creating a historic opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of jobs, support states and school districts, and advance reforms and improvements that will create long-lasting results for our students and our nation including early learning, K-12, and post-secondary education.
  • Education for Homeless Youth received a total of :
  • $70 million
  • Missouri received $1.1 million dollars
arra mckinney vento homeless general overview
ARRA — McKinney-Vento Homeless General Overview
  • The ARRA funds will assist LEAs in addressing the educational and related needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society –homeless children and youth – during a time of economic crisis in the United States.
  • Grants were made to LEAs for purposes of facilitating the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in school.
  • School districts who reported at least 15 students experiencing homelessness during the 2007-08 school year were awarded Homeless ARRA funds based on a formula of approximately $91.45 per homeless student.
McKinney Vento Stimulus program funds may be used to carry out these and other activities that promote the purpose of the program.
  • Educational Services
    • Tutoring, supplemental instruction, and other educational services that help homeless children and youth reach the same challenging State content and State student performance standards to which all children and youth are held.
    • Before- and after- school programs, mentoring, and summer programs.
    • Developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs for homeless children of preschool age that are not provided through other federal, state, or local funds.
    • Expedited evaluations of homeless children and youth to measure their strengths and needs.
    • Educational and training programs for parents of homeless children and youth regarding the rights their children have as homeless individuals and the educational and other resources available to their children.

Activities allowed continued…

  • Professional Development
    • Programs and other activities designed to raise awareness among educators and pupil services personnel of the rights of homeless children and youth under the Act, and the special needs such children and youth have as a result of their homelessness.
  • Coordination of Services
    • Programs coordinating services provided by schools and other agencies to homeless children and youth to expand and enhance such services.  
  • Comprehensive Services
    • Referrals of homeless children and youth to medical, dental, mental, and other health services.
    • Pupil services programs providing violence prevention counseling and referrals to such counseling.
    • Programs addressing the particular needs of homeless children and youth that may arise from domestic violence.

Activities allowed continued…

  • Transportation
    • Paying the excess cost of transportation not otherwise provided through federal, state, or local funds, to enable homeless children and youth to attend schools selected under Section 722(g)(3) of the Act. 
  • School Records
    • Paying fees and costs associated with locating, obtaining, and transferring records necessary for the enrollment of homeless children and youth in school.
  • School Supplies
    • Providing supplies to non-school facilities serving homeless children and youth and adapting these facilities to enable them to provide services. 
    • Providing school supplies to homeless children and youth at shelters, temporary housing facilities, and other locations as appropriate.
  • Extraordinary or Emergency Assistance
    • Providing extraordinary or emergency services to homeless children and youth as necessary to enroll and retain such children and youth in school.
  • May not be used for rent, utilities, etc.

Timeline for the McKinney-Vento Stimulus/ARRA funds

  • LEA obligation of funds – deadline
    • September 30, 2011
  • State Liquidation of funds – December 30, 2011
how to apply for arra funds
How to Apply for ARRA funds
  • Districts will apply for ARRA funds in the same manner as they apply for regular funds, which is through the ePeGS funding application.

ARRA Payment Requests

How to request payments…

  • Districts will request payments for all of the ARRA funds through the payment request option in ePeGS.
  • Reminder--Cash Management Improvement Act (CMIA)You may not earn interest on federal funds
national association for the education of homeless children and youth
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth

Annual Conference

Denver, Colorado

November 14 – 17, 2009