McKinney-Vento Act & Definition of Homelessness

  • The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children or unaccompanied youth as lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, which include:

    • Doubled up with friends or relatives due to loss of housing.
    • Children living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, and campgrounds due to lack of alternative accommodations.
    • Children living in emergency or transitional shelters.
    • Children living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations.

    The McKinney-Vento Act ensures that children can:

    • Students can attend the school they last attended before they became homeless (school of origin) or students may be enrolled in their neighborhood school.
    • Right to immediate enrollment in school even if they lack required documents, such as school records, immunization records, or proof of residence.
    • Right to free transportation to school of origin when feasible.
    • Free nutrition at school.
    • Assistance in obtaining school supplies, help with school fees, and assistance in connecting to social service supports.

    To access McKinney-Vento services, you may call your child’s school or call the McKinney-Vento Office at 206.631.3256 or 206.631.3225.

    Please visit our Homelessness & Education program to learn more.