Students without a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence can be considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento law. This includes:
- living with a friend, relative or someone else because of losing their home due to temporary financial problems;
- staying in a motel, hotel, trailer park, or campground because they have nowhere else to go;
- living in a shelter, including emergency or transitional shelter, domestic violence shelter, and runaway homeless shelters;
- staying in substandard housing, living in places not ordinarily used for sleeping, including cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, or bus or train stations;
- abandoned in a hospital.
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth is a youth who meets the criteria above and also is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.
Students have the RIGHT to:
- Remain in the same school even if they move to another attendance zone
- Enroll in a new school without providing the typically required records such as proof of residency,immunizations, school records, or other papers;
- Receive transportation to a school outside of the attendance area if feasible
- Receive the same school services provided to non-homeless students
- Challenge decisions made by schools and districts in case of disputes of eligibility
McKinney-Vento Dispute Resolution Process
The process to resolve disputes concerning the enrollment or placement of a child or youth experiencing homeless is as follows:
- If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the student will be immediately admitted to the school requested pending resolution of the dispute.
- The child or youth “shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute” [42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(E)(i)].
- The school will complete the Written Notification of Enrollment/Placement Decision for Student and provide the Parent with a copy which includes information about the parent/student’s right to appeal.
- The school will send the completed copy of the Written Notification of Enrollment/Placement Decision for the student to the District Department of Student Services.
- If the Parent would like to appeal the school enrollment/placement decision, then the school counselor will provide them with the McKinney-Vento Dispute Form to complete. This form is sent to the District Department of Student Services for review.
- The McKinney-Vento District Liaison will provide the parent with written documentation of the District Determination.
- The parent has the right to appeal the District Determination to the State Department of Education, Homeless Division. This state appeal process is provided on the District Determination Form.
Any questions related to the MV Dispute Resolution Process, please contact: Elaine Swain, LMSW, Coordinator of Programs for At-Risk Students, 843-899-8342.
Please click here for a copy of the McKinney-Vento Dispute Form
Parents can talk with the School Counselor at their school for further information.