What is the McKinney-Vento Act?

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1986 is a federal law that provides money for homeless shelter programs. "Homeless" children are also entitled to the protections of the McKinney-Vento Act.

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:

  1. Children sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing or similar reasons;

  2. Children living in "motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations"

  3. Children living in "emergency or transitional shelters"

  4. Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)

  5. Children living in "cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations…"

  6. Migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (a) through (e).

The McKinney-Vento Act ensures homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge, allowing children to attend their school of origin (last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first become homeless) regardless of what district the family resides in. It requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.

McKinney-Vento Act and B-ESD

Given the guidance above the Burlington-Edison School District (B-ESD), has developed Board Policy 3115.

The B-ESD Student Housing Questionnaire (below) is used during student enrollment, and when a student has moved, to assist Building and District McKinney-Vento Liaisons in determining if the student(s) qualify for services under the Act.

If you believe you, or your child, may be eligible and in need of services under the McKinney-Vento Act, please seek the assistance of Kim Welling or Jeff Brown, B-ESD McKinney-Vento Liaisons, or speak with a counselor at the student’s school.

If you feel the district's McKinney-Vento Liaisons made an incorrect determination in regards to McKinney-Vento eligibility or school or origin, please utilize the McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution process.

The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) is a national membership association dedicated to ensuring educational equity and excellence for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

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If you have questions or believe you may qualify for services under the McKinney-Vento Act please contact the counselor at your school, or Kim Welling / Jeff Brown, District Homeless Liaisons, at 360-757-3311.