What is McKinney-Vento?

  • The McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states for the purpose of supporting district programs that serve homeless students.

    Homeless definition:

    The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children 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 sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
    • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
    • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
    • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
    • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
    • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
    • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

    Under the McKinney-Vento Act parents/unaccompanied homeless youths have rights to:

    • Go to schools, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there
    • Stay in the school that he/she was attending before becoming homeless 
    • Enroll in school immediately, even if you do not have all the enrollment documents, such as school and medical records
    • Access the same special programs and services that are provided to other children, including special education, migrant education and vocational education
    • Receive the same public education that is provided to other children 

McKinney-Vento Contacts

  • Lisa Phillips

    State Coordinator


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Homeless Program Documents