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Homeless Education (McKinney-Vento)

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act) (42 U.S.C. § 11431-11435) is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of children and youths experiencing homelessness. It requires all local educational agencies (LEAs) to ensure that homeless students have access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschools, as provided to other children and youths. The McKinney-Vento Act defines LEAs as public school districts, direct-funded and locally funded charter schools, and county offices of education. The McKinney-Vento Act also authorizes the funding for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program.

Homeless Definition

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition also includes:

  • Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Children and youths who may be living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, shelters
  • Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
  • Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings, or
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above

Children's School Enrollment Rights

All children have rights and protections under the McKinney -Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act and state law. They have the right to: 

  • Continue to attend the school in which they were last enrolled, even if you have moved away from that school's attendance zone or district.
  • Immediate enrollment
  • Enroll even if you do not have a permanent address. (Proof of residency is not required.)
  • Enroll even if you do not have school or immunization records.
  • May receive transportation from your current residence back to you school of origin. May receive special programs and services.

For questions or help with enrolling in school, please contact the HBCSD Homeless District Liaison. 

HBCSD Homeless Education Liaison
Megan Kempner
Executive Director, Student Services
(714) 964-8888 ext. 2045