The McKinney-Vento Act states that children and youth who lack “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” will be considered homeless.
McKinney-Vento eligible students have the right to:
- receive a free, appropriate public education;
- enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment, or having missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness;
- enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;
- continue attending the school of origin, or enroll in the local attendance area school if attending the school of origin is not in the best interest of the student or is contrary to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth;
- receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent or guardian, or by the local liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth; and
- receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to each student’s needs.
Under the McKinney-Vento Act and N.Y. Education Law § 3209, a student in temporary housing is entitled to transportation to their school of origin. Transportation protections include:
- Transportation to the school the student attended when they were last permanently housed up to 50 miles each way, or to the most recent school they attended, even if the school is in a different school district from where the student is temporarily living;
- Continued transportation to the same school for the rest of the academic year when the student moves into permanent housing, even if the new housing is located outside of the school district;
- In New York State, transportation is also provided for an extra year after the student moves into permanent housing if the extra year is the student's final year in the school building (for example, 12th grade);
- If a student in temporary housing attends school in the same district where they are temporarily housed, then they can get the same transportation as their permanently housed peers. If permanently housed students don't have transportation, and the lack of transportation creates a barrier for a student in temporary housing, then the district has to supply transportation to overcome the barrier;
- Transportation to extracurricular activities if the lack of transportation would be a barrier to the student participating.
In New York State, the school district where the student attends school is the district that is responsible for providing transportation. Sometimes, the local department of social services (DSS) is responsible for transportation - for instance, where the student has been placed in a shelter outside of the school district and the student is eligible for Emergency Assistance for Families. The local DSS can meet their responsibility by asking the school district to supply the transportation and reimbursing the school district for the costs.
Click here to view Policy 5151: Homeless Children
Click here to view NYSED McKenney-Vento Homeless resources.