The Silent Crisis

Student Homelessness on the 30th Anniversary of the McKinney-Vento Act

Good News?

Public schools reported more homeless students in 2015-2016.

Innovation Spotlight

School-Housing partnership serves homeless families who are “doubled-up”

Education is Essential.

Education, from early childhood through post-secondary, gives children and  youth the tools to end their homelessness and achieve their dreams.

Grassroots Approach

Changes must be rooted in the realities of local communities.

Prevention must be a priority.

We will not solve adult homelessness until the complex realities and comprehensive needs of children and youth take a front seat in policy and practice.

Youth Leadership

Young people are the experts on their experiences and needs.

Child and Youth Development

The developmental needs of children and youth must be central to all advocacy, program design, outcome measures, and policy.



House Passes Career and Technical Education Bill

On June 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed “The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” HR 2353. SchoolHouse Connection applauds the passage of this legislation, which will improve access to high-quality career and technical education for youth experiencing homelessness. For many homeless youth, career and technical education may offer the best path to living-wage employment that will help them escape poverty, and therefore never experience homelessness again.

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Back to School ESSA Tools

We’ve got new tools to help school districts and states implement ESSA amendments, including a brief on participation in extra-curricular activities; an editable template to provide athletic directors and associations with determinations of a youth’s homeless status (or foster care status); and a sample form letter to determine the independent student status of unaccompanied homeless youth for financial aid.

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By Jordyn Roark, BSW candidate, University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “You walk into an office and are asked for your name and address. You reply that you don’t have an address. The secretary looks confused and says, ‘You must have an address. Where do you sleep?’ You cringe and restate that you do not have an address. The secretary fumbles through some papers, lets out a strained breath, and finally looks up to state: ‘We need an address in order to move forward.’”

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With ESSA’s added McKinney-Vento preschool requirements, I assume that public preschools also should disseminate notice of the rights of homeless families and students?

Answer: Absolutely. Preschools are included within the definition of school of origin (we have a flowchart to walk you through those requirements), and providing access to early childhood programs is part of the liaison’s responsibilities. Given those requirements,...
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A family in a domestic violence shelter in District A is moving into the shelter’s transitional housing program this summer, in District B. The family is expected to be there for 2 years. Does District A have to keep the student and provide transportation, or may they have the student register in District B?

Answer: This depends entirely on the best interest of the student. As amended by ESSA, McKinney-Vento presumes that remaining in the school of origin is in the student’s best interest. However, if it truly looks like the student will be stable in District B for 2...
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We are encountering families who qualified for our program last year, who are now in Permanent Supportive Housing Programs. Under HUD, these families are no longer considered homeless. Does this same rule apply to schools?

Answer: This is a case-by-case determination, hinging on what kind of housing actually is being provided and the terms of the housing. In general, try to consider whether the housing is more like a Section 8 voucher (not McKinney-Vento education eligible) or more like...
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To maintain an accurate database, at the end of the school year, I remove students whom I know have secured stable housing. In August, I reach out to the others with questionnaires and phone calls/emails, to get the latest information. If they are still eligible, I keep them in the program. Is that process appropriate, or should I remove ALL my McKinney-Vento students at the end of each year and then have them re-apply to determine continued eligibility?

Answer: Your process seems appropriate and more likely to avoid dropping students from the program who actually are still experiencing homelessness. Reaching out with phone calls, emails, questionnaires, and reminders to families to update you on their living...
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We have a family who has been told by the friend with whom they are residing not to give the physical address to the school. Is there anything in writing stating that the school can enroll without that address?

Answer: Yes, the McKinney-Vento Act itself specifically states that schools must enroll students experiencing homelessness immediately, even if the student is unable to provide documents that are typically required for enrollment, such as previous academic records,...
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Early Childhood

Infants are at greater risk of living in homeless shelters than any other age group in the United States. Early childhood programs prevent the harmful life-long effects of homelessness on education, health and well-being.

PreK - 12

In the 2014-15 school year, public schools identified more than 1.2 million homeless students. Schools provide basic needs, caring adults, stability, normalcy, and the skills to avoid homelessness as adults.

Higher Education

The majority of well-paying jobs created today require at least a Bachelor’s degree. A college degree is increasingly necessary to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, and live a healthy, productive life.


Robust community partnerships, including housing, health care, nutrition, transportation, and other services, provide essential supports for children and youth to grow and thrive.

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