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The Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, most recently re-authorized in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Definition of a Homeless Child/Youth
- A homeless child or youth ages 3-21;
- A child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes the following:
- A child who is sharing the housing of others (includes doubled-up families) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital
- A child who has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for humans beings
- A child who is living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
- A migratory child/youth who qualifies as homeless because of the living circumstances described above
- Includes youth who have runaway or youth being forced to leave home.
Educational Rights of Homeless Children and Youth
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, children in homeless situations have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there;
- Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest; the school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed, or the school in which the child was last enrolled;
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin;
- Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or
- immunization/medical records;
- Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school arranges for transfer of records;
- Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students including transportation and supplemental educational services;
- Have access to free school meals/lunch programs;
- Attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; segregation based on a student’s status as homeless is prohibited
District Homeless Liaisons
Homeless Education Liaisons - Each public school district is required to appoint an appropriate staff person to serve in the role of Homeless Education Liaison.
Legislation and Guidance
- U.S. Department of Education's webpage for Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance
- Non-Regulatory Guidance Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program - Updated August 2018 - Includes F-5. Natural Disaster Information and M. Coordination with Title I
- Iowa Administrative Code 281-33 Educating Homeless Children and Youth
McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 provides competitive subgrants to districts to expand services to homeless children, to create greater awareness and sensitivity of district and school staff about the ways to identify students who may be homeless, and to provide additional services to these children to increase their chances for academic success. School districts may apply for federal funds for providing activities for, and services to, homeless students, including preschool-aged homeless children, and youth that enable such children and youth to enroll in, attend and succeed in school.
Subgrants are open to any public school district in Iowa that has identified and reported a minimum of 25 homeless students on Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI). Subgrants are awarded through a highly competitive grant process.
2021-2024 Grant Cycle - Application period is closed.
- Cedar Rapids
- Council Bluffs
- Des Moines
- Iowa City
- Mason City
- Sioux City
- Determination Letter for 2020-2021 FAFSA
- LEA Written Notification of Decision
- Student/Family/Guardian Appeal of Written Notice of Decision
- Homeless Education Issue Briefs (National Center for Homeless Education) - Scroll down on the page to view briefs containing information regarding legislation requirements and other homeless education topics.
- Iowa Homeless Student Caregiver Authorization Form
- Homeless Liaison Toolkit - A comprehensive resource that will assist both new and veteran local liaisons in carrying out their responsibilities. Updated to reflect the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2020 edition of the Homeless Liaison Toolkit includes requirements of the law, good practices, sample forms, and links to resources. Sixteen chapters on topics essential to implementing the McKinney-Vento Act synthesize in an easy-to-read format the essentials that local liaisons must know in order to carry out their responsibilities.
- The Most Frequently Asked Questions on the Educational Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations - Provides answers to frequently asked questions on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the education rights of children and youth in homeless situations, based on the amendments made by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Published by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
- Iowa Administrative Code chapter 281-33.3(2) requires posting information regarding the educational rights of homeless children and youth and encouraging homeless children and youth to enroll in the public school. Free posters, brochures and other materials can be ordered through the National Center for Homeless Education website.
- Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) - A self-supporting public agency offering a variety of programs to address a continuum of housing needs, from homeless assistance to multifamily rental to single-family homeownership.
- Iowa Legal Aid - A nonprofit organization that provides critical legal assistance to low-income Iowans who have nowhere else to turn.
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) - The voice and social conscience for the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness through advocacy, partnerships and education.
- National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) - Provides research, resources and information enabling communities to address the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
- National Homelessness Law Center - Serves as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.
- Schoolhouse Connection - A national organization providing strategic advocacy and technical assistance in partnership with early childhood programs, schools, institutions of higher education, service providers, families, and youth.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - Funds programs to help the homeless. Programs are managed by local organizations that provide a range of services, including shelter, food, counseling, and jobs skills programs.
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - Coordinates and catalyzes the federal response to homelessness, working in close partnership with senior leaders across 19 federal member agencies.