What is the Mckinney-Vento Act?

The McKinney-Vento Act requires that state educational agencies provide youth experiencing homelessness the same access to free, appropriate public education.

The McKinney - Vento Acts gives youth experiencing homelessness the

  • Right to immediate school enrollment even when records not present
  • Right to remain in the school of origin, if in the student’s best interest
  • Right to receive transportation to and from the school of origin
  • Right to receive support for academic success


How does McKinney-Vento define homeless?

The term "homeless children and youths"--

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and

(B) includes--

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;*

(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).


The McKinney-Vento Act also authorizes the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. It was reauthorized in December 2015 by Title IX, Part A, of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)."


What is the EHCY program?

The EHCY program removes barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in school. Without this specific, targeted assistance, homeless children and youth are unlikely to benefit from any investment in education, and are at much higher risk of experiencing homelessness as adults. EHCY’s key themes are identification, school access and stability, and support for educational success.


What is the Every Student Succeeds Act? (ESSA)

  • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Requires—for the first time—that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards.
  • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators—consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods
  • Sustains and expands this administration's historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time."


FAQS about the McKinney-Vento Act

School House Connect

California Department of Education

Quick Reference


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