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Students Experiencing Homelessness (McKinney-Vento Act)

What is McKinney-Vento?

The McKinney-Vento Act is federal legislation, in effect since 1987, that ensures the rights and protections of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The purpose of the McKinney-Vento Act is to ensure that homeless children and youth are enrolled in and succeed in school. The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youth” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

Who’s Eligible?

  • Living with other families or friends (i.e. doubled-up housing)
  • Living in hotels or motels
  • Living in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, or transitional housing
  • Living in cars, abandoned buildings, parks, on the street, or other public spaces
  • Living as a runaway or in homeless youth shelters
  • Living in temporary foster care placement

Eligible Students’ Rights

  • Attend school in the attendance area where they are currently living.
  • Attend the school of origin (the school they attended when they became homeless), or the school in which they were last enrolled.
  • Support enrolling and succeeding in school from the district McKinney-Vento Liaison.
  • Receive transportation to their school, if necessary.
  • Free school meals (McKinney-Vento Liaison will complete the application).
  • Services for English Language Learners, Special Education, and/or Gifted Education.
  • Receive tutoring services focusing on academic assistance.
  • Receive Preschool services.

The Right to Transportation

Did you know Washington students who are experiencing homelessness have a right to receive transportation services to their school of origin? Check out this video from Columbia Legal Services featuring some of our Bellevue School District staff members to learn more about legal and social supports.

Community Support

  • Hopelink – 425-556-9283-shelter or 425 869-6000 – Food Bank
  • Crisis Clinic – 877-211-WASH or 206 461-3200
  • Eastside Domestic Violence – 425-746-1940 or 1-800- 827-8840
  • Eastgate Public Health – 206-296-4920 or 1 800 244-4312
  • Friends of Youth – 206-236-5437
  • Youth Eastside Services “YES” – 425-747-4937
  • TEENLINK – 206-461-4922 1-866-833-6546 www.866TEENLINK.ORG
  • Department of Social and Human Services (DSHS) 206 341-7404

College Resources

Additional  Resources

Melinda Dyer, Program Supervisor
State of Washington Education of Homeless Children and Youth

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAECHY)

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

Resources and Scholarships for Homeless and Housing-Insecure Students