Students Experiencing Homelessness

Education for Homeless Children and Youth (Act of 2001)


The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was established in 1987 and amended by The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.  The Act defines the term “homeless children and youths” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence. Under McKinney Vento all school districts are responsible for identifying students experiencing homelessness and connecting them with the resources need to ensure academic success. 
Who is considered homeless?
  • Children and youth sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, camping grounds, cars or vehicles; are living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodations (cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings).
  • An unaccompanied youth- is a child or youth that is not in the care of their parent or legal guardian and meets the definition of homeless under McKinney Vento
Where can students experiencing homelessness attend school?
The law indicates that homeless students have the right to remain in their school origin (the school they attended at the time of the homeless episode or last school attended) through the end of the school year, provided it is in the child/youth’s best interest.If through consultation between the school and the family it is determined that remaining in the school of origin is not in the student’s best interest, then the student has the right to immediately enroll in the attendance area in which the child/youth is actually living, even if they do not have all of the required documentation. Additionally, unaccompanied homeless youth have the right to immediately enroll in school even if they do not have a legal guardian present. 
What supports can school districts provide to homeless students?
Homeless children and youth have access to the same free and appropriate public education as other children. Children who are homeless may qualify for assistance with school lunch, school supplies, tutoring, credit recovery, expedited evaluations, assistance to participate in school activities, and transportation.   
What is the Homeless Dispute Process? 
If there is a disagreement about homeless status or best interest for school placement, the district will notify the family in writing of their determination that the family/unaccompanied youth is ineligible for McKinney Vento services. The district will provide the family/unaccompanied youth with the ability to dispute their determination. Throughout the dispute process, the child will continue to be educated in the school of origin or immediately enrolled in the school they are seeking enrollment until the dispute process is finalized. Transportation will continue throughout the dispute process. All disputes will be sent to the ECYEH Regional Coordinator who will issue a determination. If any party is unhappy with the determination, they can elevate the dispute to the state coordinator. If you believe that your child may qualify for this service, please contact the Principal of your child’s school or the districts homeless liaison. 
Todd McMillen
Homeless Liasion

[email protected] 

The BASIC EDUCATION CIRCULAR explains the categories of children who are "homeless" and entitled to the protections of the federal law. Please visit the website for more information.\

GSSD Homelessness Handbook


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Please use these links to connect to help in our area.


Food assistance, paying housing bills, accessing free childcare, or other essential services.


Greensburg Homeless Shelters


Valley Youth House


Blackburn Center