If Homelessness Happens to You
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides certain rights and protections for families experiencing homelessness. According to McKinney-Vento, anyone who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate night-time residence is homeless.
Homelessness includes anyone:
- Living in an emergency shelter or transitional housing.
- Abandoned in hospitals or awaiting foster care.
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or campgrounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings.
- “Doubled up” living with friends or family due to the loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason.
- An “unaccompanied youth”, under the age of 18, living without a parent or guardian.
- Migratory children living in these conditions.
Homeless children have the right to:
- Attend school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there. You do not need a permanent address to enroll in school.
- Not be denied school enrollment just because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
- Enroll and attend classes in the parents’ school of choice even while the school and parents seek to resolve a dispute over enrollment.
- Continue in the school they attended before they became homeless if that is the parents’ choice and is feasible.
- Receive transportation to and from the school the child last attended prior to becoming homeless, if the parent/guardian requests it.
- Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless.
- Participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
What your family can do before moving:
- Tell your child’s Teacher, Principal, and Homeless Education Social Worker that your child is moving, and give them the new address.
- Let school officials know if you want your child to stay in his/her home school while you are getting the family stabilized.
- Ask for a copy of your child’s school records, including immunizations.
Tips for families who move often:
- Keep a copy of birth certificates and school records accessible.
- Safeguard all health and immunization records.
- Have a reliable person keep a second copy of the child’s birth certificate, school records and health information.
- Enroll children in school as soon as possible.
At school, ask about these special services:
- Free breakfast and lunch programs
- Special transportation for children to remain in their home school
- Special education programs, especially if the student has previously received special education services
- Tutoring programs
- Summer school programs
- Pre-school programs
- After-school programs
If you would like more information, contact the Homeless Liaison, Jessica Wiskow at 715 273-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org.