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Education of Homeless Students

McKinney-Vento Act: Education of Homeless Children and Youth

According to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homelessness is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. 

Individuals and youth are considered homeless if they are living in one of the following situations:

  • Living with a friend, relative or someone else due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, cars, public spaces or campgrounds
  • Living in shelters, transitional housing units or are awaiting foster care placement
  • Living in places not ordinarily used for sleeping, including cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings or bus or train stations
  • Unaccompanied youth who are not in the care of a parent/guardian and living in one of the situations above

Educational Rights for Children under the McKinney-Vento Act

Children in homeless situations have the right to:

  • Immediate enrollment, even if they are missing records 
  • Attend the local school or the school of origin depending on the child’s best interest
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin when possible
  • Have access to the same programs and services that are available to other students
  • Free Reduced Lunch Program
  • Title 1 Services

Resources for families in transition

Housing:

  • Youth (under 22): Canvas Health, 651-251-5214
  • Families with children: St. Andrew’s Community Resource Center, 651-762-9142
  • Adults (22+) without children: Washington County Community Services, 651-430-6488

Food:

  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park): 651-458-0730
  • Christian Cupboard (Woodbury, Oakdale): 651-233-1296
  • MN Food Helpline: 1-888-711-1151

Additional Resources:


Tips for parents:

  • Reach out to your child’s education team: principal, teachers, counselors, psychologist or school social worker. They can help connect you to community resources.
  • Continue to keep your school informed of changes in address so that we can help set up transportation to ensure that your child is able to attend school regularly.
  • Let your child’s teacher or the school know the best way to reach you to ensure ongoing communication.

Homeless Program Dispute Resolution Procedures

Families and youth in homeless situations may be unaware of their right to dispute placement and enrollment decisions. If there is a dispute, families should first contact Crystal Gentry, the district's homeless liaison, and then complete a Homeless Education Dispute Form.


Homeless Information Contact: Crystal Gentry, District 833 Homeless Liaison at cgentry@sowashco.org or 651-425-4724.