All students deserve the best possible education. Federal law ensures that homeless children and youth, including preschoolers, have equal access to the same free, appropriate educational programs as other children and youth. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act mandates elimination of educational barriers facing homeless children and youth, to increase school stability and protect students from discrimination. Under this legislation, homeless children and youth are entitled to certain services and supports.
Homeless students in City Schools
- In five years (2008–2013), the number of City Schools students identified as homeless doubled.
- In the 2012–13 school year, City Schools identified 2,716 homeless youth who attended the district’s schools.
- Board of School Commissioners policy and accompanying regulations ensure that homeless children and youth have access to the education and services to which they are entitled in order to meet the challenging academic standards to which all students are held.
Who is considered homeless?
Children and youth are homeless when they lack a fixed, regular and adequate night-time place of residence, including
- Sharing housing of other persons due to the loss of housing, economic hardship or “doubled up”
- Living in a supervised publicly or privately operated emergency or transitional shelter
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative, adequate accommodations
- Living in vehicles, on the street, in abandoned buildings or any private or public space not designated as regular sleeping accommodations
- Awaiting foster care placement
- Unaccompanied youth
Examples of students who qualify:
- A 3rd grader who fled a violent situation with his mother and is now living in an emergency shelter
- A 5th grader whose family is facing eviction and moves in with a relative
- A teen living in his car
- A 5th grader living with his aunt while his father is at a shelter
- A 6th grader whose mother is incarcerated, so she goes to live with an aunt who is thinking about getting guardianship but doesn't have the money for the fee
- A 17-year-old who has moved in with her boyfriend
- A 2nd grader living with his mother, father and three siblings in a single-family home with no water or electricity
- A 6th grader placed by Child Protective Services to live with her grandmother
Examples of students who do not qualify:
- A 1st grader living in an apartment with her mother, who has a Section 8 voucher.
- A 4th grader who lived in a cramped motel until mid-August but his mother is now renting an apartment in a different school district (must be eligible the first day of school).
- A 2nd grader who has lived with the same foster parents for two years.
- A 6th grader whose family is being evicted from their home in a week.
- A 1st grader whose young mother has never moved out of her parent's home and plans to continue to stay there to save money.
(Source: Education Project for Homeless Youth, Washtenaw Intermediate School District )
For more information about eligibility for homeless services, contact Enrollment and Attendance at 410-396-8600.