McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures that children and youth who experience homelessness have access to schools, stability in terms of the schools they attend, and adequate supports to achieve academic success.

The protections apply to children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including those:

  • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason (“doubling up”)
  •  Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to the lack of adequate alternative accommodations
  •  Living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Abandoned in hospitals
  • Awaiting foster care placement
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or a similar setting
  • Migratory children living in the above circumstances
  • Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances

McKinney-Vento Requirements

Local Homeless Education Liaison

The act requires that school districts designate a local homeless education liaison that is responsible for the identification, enrollment, and coordination of support services for homeless students.


Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are eligible for services.

School Selection

Eligible students have the right to attend either the school in the district they currently reside or their school of origin (i.e. the school they attended when permanently housed, the school in which the student was last enrolled) depending on the best interest of the student.


School districts must transport homeless students to and from the school of origin, at the request of the parent or guardian.


Homeless students are categorically eligible to receive free school meals.

Dispute Resolution

Whenever a dispute arises regarding entitlement or services, the parent, guardian, or youth must be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision, including the right to appeal. The local homeless education liaison must initiate the state prescribed resolution process as expeditiously as possible. While a dispute is being resolved, the student must be admitted immediately into the requested school and provided services.