Answer: Technically speaking, this depends on the date in your state when the school year officially starts and ends. Most states define the academic year to go from roughly August 1 to July 31, to cover “extended school year” (i.e. summer school) services. That official school year is the “qualifying year” for McKinney-Vento. Here are some examples. (When I use the term “school year” in my comments below, I’m not talking about the first or last day of regular classes. I’m talking about the official, legal school year.)
- Students were homeless last school year, but also became permanently housed last school year: Not MV this school year.
- Students were homeless last school year and homelessness continued into the summer: Probably MV this school year, although it depends on the exact date they found permanent housing. Was that date technically last school year, or this school year?
- Students were not homeless last school year, but became homeless over the summer and remain homeless into the school year: MV this school year.
- Students were not homeless last school year, but became homeless over the summer, and then found housing before the school year started: MV this school year. This is the scenario you suggested— student verified as homeless 7/1, but permanently housed on 8/22. Students who become homeless over the summer have McKinney-Vento rights (see the legal language in the following paragraph).
- Students were not homeless last school year, but became homeless on the first day of this school year, and then found housing a week later: MV this school year.
If you’re really just asking for the purposes of maintaining your data, you could consider the day faculty return to school as the beginning of the school year, or the day classes start. It’s probably not so important what the exact date is, as long as it is a date that make sense. But the exact date could be very important, because you also have to remember that students who lose their housing in the summer have rights, too. The school of origin and enrollment provisions of McKinney-Vento provide that students can remain in the school of origin “in any case in which a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; and for the remainder of the academic year, if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year.” Either way, eligibility on its own is only the first step. Then you have to determine whether it’s in the student’s best interest to remain in the school of origin. Of the scenarios above, I think for numbers 4 and 5, there would be a very strong argument that it is not in the student’s best interest to remain in the school of origin. They’re already in permanent housing before the school year even starts (or very shortly after), so they can start the year in their neighborhood, with their new peers and neighbors.