The McKinney-Vento Act provides rights and services to children and youth experiencing homelessness, which includes those who are: sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; staying in motels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to the lack of an adequate alternative; staying in shelters or transitional housing; or sleeping in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, or similar settings.[i] This document summarizes some of the McKinney-Vento Act’s core provisions.

At the State Agency Level

Every state educational agency (SEA) must designate an Office of State Coordinator that can sufficiently carry out duties in the Act.[ii] Key duties include:

  • Responding to inquiries from homeless parents and unaccompanied youth.[iii]
  • Providing professional development programs for liaisons and others.[iv]
  • Conducting monitoring of local educational agencies to enforce compliance.[v]

At the Local Agency Level

Every local education agency (LEA) must designate a liaison for students experiencing homelessness who is able to carry out the duties described in the law.[vi] Key duties include:

School Stability

School Enrollment and Participation

Preschool Children

Title I, Part A

[i] 42 U.S.C. §11434a(2).
[ii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(d)(3)
[iii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(f)(7).
[iv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(f)(6).
[v] 42 U.S.C. §11432(f)(5).
[vi] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(ii).
[vii] 42 U.S.C. §§11432(g)(6)(A)(i)-(ii).

[viii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(iv).
[ix] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(ix).
[x] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(x)(III).
[xi] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(iv).
[xii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(vi).
[xiii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(A).
[xiv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(B)

[xiv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(B).
[xv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(I).
[xvi] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(iii).
[xvii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(C).
[xviii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(I).
[xix] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(E)(i).
[xx] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(F)(iii).

[xx] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(F)(iii).
[xxi] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(I).
[xxii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(iii).
[xxiii] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(F)(ii).
[xxiv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(x)(II).
[xxv] 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(K).
[xxvi] 20 U.S.C. §6313(c)(3)(A).
[xxvii] 20 U.S.C. §6313(c)(3)(C)(ii).
[xxviii] 20 U.S.C. §§6311(h)(1)(C)(ii) and (iii).

Additional Resources

Homeless Education Directory

This homeless directory lists contacts for state coordinators, liaisons, Head Start collab offices, and higher ed liaisons.

Awareness and Training Resources

Under federal law (the McKinney-Vento Act), every local educational agency (LEA) is required to designate a liaison for children and youth experiencing homelessness. LEA homeless liaisons have ten specific duties under the law, one of which is to provide professional development and other support to school personnel. Training school staff is essential in order for children and youth experiencing homelessness to be identified and to receive the education that is their surest path out of homelessness and poverty.

LEA McKinney-Vento Homelessness Policy Checklist

This checklist is intended to assist local educational agencies in evaluating their own policies. It should be utilized for collaborative reviews with other LEA staff, aimed at identifying components within McKinney-Vento compliance and highlighting areas that may require policy adjustments and improvements in LEA practices.

Q&A From the Field

SchoolHouse Connection receives many questions from educators, service providers, and the public about the education and care of children and youth experiencing homelessness. We respond to every question we receive, citing applicable law and policy. In order to assist people who may have similar questions, we feature many of the questions and answers on this web page.

American Rescue Plan-Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY)

American Rescue Plan — Homeless Children and Youth, or ARP-HCY funds, are uniquely flexible one-time funds that can help meet many urgent needs. SchoolHouse Connection has compiled resources to help state and local educational agencies make the most of this historic opportunity to serve some of our nation’s most vulnerable students.

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