McKinney-Vento Services for Students Who Lack Permanent Housing

Public Education services for students who lack permanent housing or are homeless is governed by the Federal McKinney-Vento Act of 1987. The Act defines homeless children as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” The Act then goes on to give examples of children who would fall under this definition:

  • Children sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing;
  • Children living in “motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations”
  • Children living in “emergency or transitional shelters”
  • Children “awaiting foster care placement”
  • Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc.)
  • Children living in “cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations…”

The McKinney-Vento Act provides homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge within a distance of 50 miles and allows children to attend their school of origin (last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first become homeless) regardless of what district the family currently resides in. It further requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence. To implement the Act, States have designated a statewide homeless coordinator to review policies and create procedures, including dispute resolution procedures, to ensure that homeless children are able to attend school.

In the District we assign the social workers to be homeless liaisons in each building, with Dr. Bernhard providing supervision and administering to the annual state reporting requirements. Homeless liaisons provide public notice to students and families who may meet the criteria for designation (primarily when new students are registering in the district), ensure that school staff are aware of the rights of designated students, and facilitate access to school and transportation services.

If you think your living situation may fall under the Act, you may contact Mrs. Gibson directly (518-623-9747 x 2), or social workers Mrs. Motsiff (518-623-9747 x 211) for Elementary students or Mr. Friauf (518-623-2861 x 115) for Jr/Sr High School students.

For more information:

Call NYS-TEACHS at 1-800-388-2014 or visit

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.