Support for Homeless Students

McKinney-Vento Program

Definition: The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in effect since 1987 is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:
  • Children and youth living with other families or relatives (“doubled up”) due to loss of housing.
  • Children and youth living in hotels and motels.
  • Children and youth living in emergency or domestic violence shelters.
  • Children and youth living in transitional housing.
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations and other locations that are not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.
  • Children and youth living without the support of parents/guardians (unaccompanied youth).
  • Are migratory children living in conditions described in previous examples.
Homeless Students' Rights:
  • Right to continue at School Of Origin, the school they attended before becoming homeless, or the school in which they were last enrolled.
  • Right to Immediate Enrollment even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.
  • Right to receive transportation to and from their school of origin, if it is in the child's or youth's best interest.
  • Free nutrition services.
  • Assistance with School Fees: including field trips, physical education fees, lab fees and other school fees.
  • Assistance in obtaining extra academic supports and school supplies.
  • Assistance with connecting to social service agencies in the community.
To access services, parents, guardians and unaccompanied youth can speak with the School Counselor or McKinney-Vento Building Designee. If they are unavailable please contact the McKinney-Vento Liaison Valerie Allan at 206-631-3255, the McKinney-Vento Family Support Worker Antonio Lewis at 206-631-3256, or fill out the Student Housing Questionnaire and return to your student's school.
Student Housing Questionnaire:     
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act acknowledges that disputes may arise between the school district and homeless students and their parents, or unaccompanied youth, when the district seeks to place a student in a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or unaccompanied youth. Dispute Resolution Process

District & State Policies:
Highline Public Schools Policy 3115: Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services 
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Policy 3115: OSPI Enrollment Rights and Services Policy

Additional information regarding homeless services is available through:

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Student Support: Melinda Dyer
Program Manager, Homeless Children and Youth
Phone: 360-725-6505

Other Resources: