The McKinney-Vento Assistance Act is the primary federal (U.S.) law dealing with the education of children and youth in homeless situations. The McKinney-Vento Act protects the right of homeless children and youth to get to, stay in, and be successful in school while they or their families are homeless.
The law focuses on maintaining school stability and school access and providing support for academic success for homeless kids. The law also requires schools and states to use child-centered, best-interest decision making when working with homeless children and their families to choose a homeless child's school, services, and other needed resources.
Allowable Uses of Funds
- Tutoring, supplemental instruction, and other educational services that help homeless children and youths reach the same challenging State academic standards the State establishes for other children and youths. (Section 723(d)(1))
- Expedited evaluations of eligible students to measure their strengths and needs. Evaluations may also determine a homeless child or youth’s possible need or eligibility for other programs and services. (Section 723(d)(2))
- Professional development and other activities for educators and specialized instructional support personnel that are designed to heighten the understanding and sensitivity of such personnel to the needs of homeless children and youths. (Section 723(d)(3))
- Referrals of eligible students to medical, dental, mental, and other health services. (Section723(d)(4))
- Assistance to defray the excess cost of transportation not otherwise provided through Federal, State, or local funds, to enable students to remain in their schools of origin. (Section 723(d)(5))
- Developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs for preschool-aged homeless children that are not provided through other Federal, State, or local funds. (Section 723(d)(6))
- Services and assistance to attract, engage, and retain homeless children and youths. (Section 723(d)(7))
- Before-and after-school, mentoring, and summer programs for homeless children and youths in which a teacher or other qualified individual provides tutoring, homework assistance, and supervision of educational activities. (Section 723(d)(8))
- Payment of fees and costs associated with tracking, obtaining, and transferring records necessary to enroll homeless children and youths in school. The records may include birth certificates, immunization or other required health records, academic records, guardianship records, and evaluations for special programs and services. (Section 723(d)(9))
- Education and training for parents and guardians of homeless children and youths about the rights of, and resources available to increase the meaningful involvement of parents and guardians of homeless children or youths in the education.
- Coordination between schools and agencies providing services to homeless children and youths in order to expand and enhance such services. Coordination with programs funded under the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act must be included in this effort. (Section 722(g)(5)(A)(i)).
- Specialized instructional support services, including violence prevention counseling, and referrals for such services. (Section 723(d)(12))
- Programs addressing the particular needs of homeless children and youths that may arise from domestic violence and parental mental health or substance abuse problems. (Section 723(d)(13)).
- Providing supplies to non-school facilities serving eligible students and adapting these facilities to enable them to provide services. (Section 723(d)(14))
- Providing school supplies, including those to be distributed at shelters or temporary housing facilities, or other appropriate locations. (Section 723(d)(15))
- Providing extraordinary or emergency services needed to enable homeless children and youths to attend school and participate fully in school activities. (Section 723(d)(16))
Additional ARP Uses of Funds
School districts also should consider the extraordinary impact of the pandemic on students experiencing homelessness when making decisions about how to use funds. Overall, costs must be “reasonable and necessary” and “align with the purpose of, and other requirements in, the EHCY statute.”
- To increase capacity by hiring staff, dedicating resources, and planning partnerships with community-based organizations, among other strategies.
- To compete and award contracts to community-based organizations that are well-positioned to identify historically underserved populations such as rural children and youth, Tribal children and youth, students of color, children and youth with disabilities, English learners, and LGBTQ+ youth, and connect them to educationally related support and wraparound services.
- Providing wraparound services (which could be provided in collaboration with and/or through contracts with community-based organizations, and could include academic supports, trauma-informed care, social-emotional support, and mental health services).
- Purchasing needed supplies (e.g., PPE, eyeglasses, school supplies, personal care items);
- Providing transportation to enable children and youth to attend classes and participate fully in school activities.
- Purchasing cell phones or other technological devices for unaccompanied youth to enable the youth to attend and fully participate in school activities.
- Providing access to reliable, high-speed internet for students through the purchase of internet-connected devices/equipment, mobile hotspots, wireless service plans, or installation of Community Wi-Fi Hotspots (e.g., at homeless shelters), especially in underserved communities.
- Paying for short-term, temporary housing (e.g., a few days in a motel) when such emergency housing is the only reasonable option for COVID-safe temporary housing and when necessary to enable the homeless child or youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities (including summer school).
- Purchasing store cards/prepaid debit cards to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities.
- For any of the sixteen uses permitted by the McKinney-Vento Act (see 42 U.S.C. 11433(d)).
The Homeless Liaisons Contact List is in a downloadable excel document on the NDDPI website at https://www.nd.gov/dpi/data. Scroll down to a gray box and click the “School Directory Contact Information.” Within this excel file, there are multiple worksheets at the bottom. Scroll left and right to find the Homeless Liaisons tab.
Designated facility and LEA representatives should have access to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Homeless Education Program TEAMS platform. In order to gain access, representatives need to be provided access through the NDDPI program administrator. If you do not have access, please contact the program administrator. This site houses all necessary documents for district liaisons and administrative staff for the Homeless Education Program.