What defines homelessness?The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Act), 42 U.S.C. Section 11434a (2) et.seq., identifies homeless students as those who:1. Lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence;2. Share the housing of other persons due to the loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; live in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;3. 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;4. Live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; or5. Are migratory and live in the conditions set forth in items 2, 3, and 4 above.
What schools would a homeless student attend?
The student may:1. Continue enrollment in the school of origin; or2. Enroll in the school serving the attendance zone where the student is physically residing.
How long can a homeless student who attends his/her school of origin remain?
A student who is or becomes homeless may:
- Attend the school of origin for the duration of homelessness, whether the homelessness condition occurs during or between academic years.
- Stay in the school for the remainder of the academic year if the student becomes permanently housed during the academic year. The student must transfer to the school zoned for the permanent residence at the beginning of the next academic year.
Is transportation provided?
If the student continues enrollment in the school of origin while staying at a temporary residence outside of the school zone, transportation will be provided to and from the school of origin if requested by the parent/guardian/caregiver/unaccompanied youth. Provision of transportation assistance will be made in the best interest of the child. Requests for transportation may be made directly to the homeless liaison or the school social worker.
School Social Worker
John Lewis Invictus Academy
What if the student is an Unaccompanied Youth?
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines unaccompanied youth as youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian [42 U.S.C. §11434A (6)] and eligible for immediate school enrollment. The absence of an available caregiver should not impede enrollment. Unaccompanied, homeless youth, who are on their own completely, should be enrolled in school immediately, even if the child or youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation. [42 U.S.C. §§11432(g)(3)( C)(i)]. Schools cannot require caregivers to become legal guardians within a certain period of time after the child enrolls in school.
If a homeless student arrives at school without a parent/guardian, the student shall be enrolled and the school social worker notified. The social worker shall contact the parent/guardian and complete the enrollment process. Students must meet age eligibility criteria for enrollment. The Caregiver Authorization form can be used to enroll a homeless student without a parent or legal guardian. However, this form should not create further barriers or delay school enrollment for unaccompanied youth without the support of a caregiver.
What if the parent has an issue or dispute?
The parent /guardian or unaccompanied youth should contact the school social worker or the APS homeless liaison. The parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth can also ask the school for a Dispute Resolution Form.