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Homeless Education Program

Every Child Has a Right to an Education

The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act states that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless.

If, due to a loss of housing, a child must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends, then he/she is eligible to receive services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.

The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.

Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.


The Homeless Education program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC 11431 et seq.). The McKinney-Vento Act was enacted to address the numerous barriers homeless children face in obtaining a free, appropriate public education. The program was originally authorized in 1987 and, most recently, reauthorized as Title X, Part C of the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Act ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness including the following:

  • The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.
  • The right to attend school in his/her school of origin (if this is requested by the parent and is feasible) or if the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing.
  • The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin, if this is requested by the parent.
  • The right to services comparable to those received by household schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
  • The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness.  Segregation based on a student's status as homeless is strictly prohibited.
  • The posting of homeless students rights in all schools and other places around the community.