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E LIGIBLE OR N OT ?: U NDERSTANDING THE M C K INNEY -V ENTO D EFINITION OF H OMELESS Christina Endres Jan Moore

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Presentation on theme: "E LIGIBLE OR N OT ?: U NDERSTANDING THE M C K INNEY -V ENTO D EFINITION OF H OMELESS Christina Endres Jan Moore"— Presentation transcript:

1 E LIGIBLE OR N OT ?: U NDERSTANDING THE M C K INNEY -V ENTO D EFINITION OF H OMELESS Christina Endres Jan Moore

2  The U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information center  NCHE has:  A comprehensive website:  A toll-free helpline: Call or  A listserv: visit for subscription instructionswww.serve.org/nche/listserv.php  Free resources: Visit G ET TO K NOW NCHE

3  Definition: Understand who is homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act  Process: Discuss steps to obtain and analyze necessary information  Application: Practice what you learned with example scenarios Today’s foundation: NCHE’s Determining Eligibility for Rights and Services Under the McKinney-Vento Act S ESSION O UTLINE

4 L AYING THE G ROUNDWORK  Eligibility is determined on case-by-case basis, examining each student’s living arrangement  Some instances are clear-cut  Others require further inquiry and a judgment call  If living arrangement does not meet all three criteria in the definition, student is eligible.  Common examples of homeless situations are listed in the law  Many other eligible situations are not listed

5 A DDRESSING D ISAGREEMENTS  If parents/guardians or unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) disagree with school about eligibility, schools follow the state’s dispute resolution process which includes:  A referral to the local liaison for assistance with the appeal process  Immediate enrollment in requested school  The provision of all services to which McKinney- Vento eligible students are entitled (e.g. transportation, Title I services, free meals).  Continued enrollment until the dispute is resolved

6 T HE D EFINITION Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence  Shared housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason  Motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations  Emergency or transitional shelters  Awaiting foster care placement

7 T HE D EFINITION  A public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as sleeping accommodation for human beings  Cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings  Migratory children living in the circumstances described above  Unaccompanied youth living in the circumstances described above

8 F IXED, R EGULAR, AND A DEQUATE Working definitions  Fixed: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to change  Regular: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent basis (e.g. nightly); consider the relative permanence of the living arrangement  Adequate: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments Can the student go to the SAME PLACE (fixed) EVERY NIGHT (regular) to sleep in a SAFE AND SUFFICIENT SPACE (adequate)?

9 T HE P ROCESS S TEP 1: G ET THE F ACTS  Use a residency questionnaire for all students  Sample questionnaires  Don’t contact persons outside the school system for information about living situations (FERPA)

10 T HE P ROCESS S TEP 1: G ET THE F ACTS  Discuss living arrangements in a private place, with sensitivity and respect  Avoid using the word “homeless”  Can be stigmatizing  May be eligible but not view selves as homeless  Explain that you are asking questions to determine potential eligibility for services See NCHE’s Confirming Eligibility brief

11 T HE P ROCESS S TEP 2: A NALYZE THE F ACTS  Is the student’s living arrangement  one of the examples mentioned in the law?  another living arrangement that is not fixed, regular, and adequate?  Use questions in the Determining Eligibility brief as a guide

12 T HE P ROCESS S TEP 3: C ALL FOR B ACK - UP  Contact your State Coordinator; visit for contact info  Contact NCHE at or

13  “Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason”  Questions to determine eligibility:  Is the living arrangement fixed, regular, and adequate?  Why did the parties move in together? Crisis or by mutual choice as a plan for mutual benefit?  How permanent is the living situation intended to be?  Where would the student live if not doubled up? D OUBLED -U P

14  Common questions  Is there a limit on how long a doubled-up student can be considered homeless?  Are both doubled-up parties homeless? Best practice: Revisit homeless situations prior to the beginning of each school year

15 E LIGIBLE OR N OT ? Mr. Garcia and his son, Jose, showed up at your school at the beginning of the year to enroll Jose. On the district’s housing questionnaire, Mr. Garcia checked “yes” to the question regarding sharing housing and indicated they are living in the area with his parents.

16 A WAITING F OSTER C ARE P LACEMENT  Children awaiting foster care placement often face the same residential and school mobility as other homeless students  US ED July 2004 Guidance (available at  Awaiting foster care placement = homeless  Already in foster care = not homeless  Local liaisons should coordinate with local public social service agencies to determine how to support this population

17 A WAITING F OSTER C ARE P LACEMENT ( CONT.)  Determine eligibility through the lens of lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence  Some states have policies/laws regarding students involved with foster care  Contact your State Coordinator for more information

18 H OMELESS AND U NACCOMPANIED To receive MV services and rights as an unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY), student must be both:  Homeless  lacking fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence AND  Unaccompanied  not in physical custody of a parent or guardian

19 H OMELESS AND U NACCOMPANIED ( CONT.)  No age limits in McKinney-Vento  States set age criteria for public education  Any youth within state age criteria limits can be eligible  Eligible students include those kicked out of their homes and those who chose to leave  Sometimes there is “more than meets the eye” for youth’s home life situations

20 E LIGIBLE OR N OT ? Janine is 19 and ran away from home. Her mother won’t talk to her, but her dad keeps in touch. She’s staying with another family, where she’s not allowed to see her boyfriend. Janine really cares for her boyfriend, so she’s thinking of going somewhere else to stay (not home).

21 T HE S CHOOL ’ S C HARGE  Schools are fundamentally educational agencies  Primary responsibility: enroll and educate, in accordance with the federal McKinney-Vento Act; federal law supersedes state and local law  Balance student and school interests by making referrals, and accessing school resources like social workers and mediators

22 E LIGIBLE OR N OT ? Lacey comes to your school to enroll herself without an adult. She tells you that she can’t get along with her stepdad and had to leave home. Her mom calls the school and says Lacey just wants to live with her boyfriend.

23 S UBSTANDARD H OUSING  No official federal definition  Evaluate according to your community’s norms  Common indicators  Does not meet local building code  Inoperable indoor plumbing  Nonworking, inadequate or unsafe electrical service  No working kitchen  Condemned by a government agency  Overcrowded: Does not meet occupancy guidelines in local/state building codes

24 E LIGIBLE OR N OT ? The Blairs own a home in your school district where their daughter, Emily, is enrolled. Emily told the school counselor that the home’s heating system is broken and her parents cannot afford to make the repairs. The counselor thinks Emily may be eligible for MV services.

25 F INAL Q UESTIONS ?

26 F OR MORE INFORMATION State Coordinator for Homeless Education: NCHE website: NCHE Helpline: or


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