Homeless Education

Definition of Homeless

Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act defines homelessness as living in the following places due to a lack of a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. 

  • In an emergency or transitional shelter
  • In a motel, hotel, or campground due to lack of an adequate alternative
  • In a car, park, public place, bus or train station, or abandoned building
  • Doubled up with relatives or friends due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  • In the above conditions and is a migratory child or youth

This definition of homelessness applies to children and youth with:

  • Uncertain housing
  • A temporary address
  • No permanent physical address

Children and youth living in these settings meet criteria for the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness and have special educational rights.


What Families Experiencing Homelessness Need to Know

  • Children and youth experiencing homelessness have a right to attend school.
  • You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
  • Children in homeless situations have the right to stay in the school they attended before becoming homeless or where they were last enrolled (school of origin) if the parents or guardians choose.
  • Schools must provide you with a written explanation if placement dispute occurs and you may appeal
  • Your child cannot be denied school enrollment just because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
  • Your child has the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin.
  • Your child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
  • Unaccompanied youth have these same rights.


Free and Reduced Lunch Procedures

Homeless students are entitled to qualify for the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Program and DO NOT need to fill out the regular application. 

To obtain meals, you may e-mail the student’s name and school name to the Homeless Liaison, Karen Turner, [email protected] or contact the student’s school. The division liaison will work with the school of attendance to ensure the student is provided access to meals immediately.

Resources for Families Experiencing Homelessness

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