McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance
One of the most important responsibilities of Central Montcalm is making sure that all children and youth have access to the same free, appropriate public education. In some cases, our students and their families’ experience homelessness. When this happens, Central Montcalm is ready to provide assistance in order to help homeless students graduate and be prepared for college, career, and community.
What does it mean to be homeless?
The term “homeless children and youth”—
A. means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…; 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…;
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…who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
What is the McKinney-Vento Assistance Act?
The McKinney-Vento Assistance Act guarantees educational rights and supports for students experiencing homelessness.
What rights do children and youth in homeless situations have?
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 gathers records.
- Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- Attend school with children no experiencing homelessness, a school cannot segregate a student because he or she is homeless.
When I move, should I keep my child in the school of origin or transfer my child to the local school?
Moving from one school to another can be very upsetting for children. They have to leave friends and teachers, and classes. Because of this, it is usually best for your child to stay in his/her same school (the school of origin, even if you are moving to a different area.
For questions to consider on deciding whether your child should stay in the same school or move to the new school where you're living, contact the district local homeless education liaison or reference either of these parent guides
What can I do to help my child in school?
- Make sure your child goes to school every day and arrives rested and fed.
- Provide a quiet place for your child to do homework and set aside time every day to help your child with homework.
- Pay attention to your child's health needs and take care of problems early.
- Ask your child what he or she is learning in school; have him or her explain it to you. If you show interest in your child's education, he or she will know it's important.
- Read to your child every day; for older children, set aside time each day for you and your child to read together silently. Talk about you read.
- Praise your child for what he or she does well, like getting a good grade or playing on a school sports team.
- Listen to what your child shares with you and talk about any problems he or she is having. You can also talk about these problems with a teacher or school counselor.
- Encourage your child to participate in things like sports and music.
For a directory of Montcalm Community Resources, go to
What should I disagree on where my child should go to school?
Following the chain of communication is key to getting issues addressed in a timely and effective manner. If you disagree with a decision that has been made regarding your child's enrollment, start by contacting the local District McKinney-Vento Liaison, Mandy McLaughlin.
If you and the school disagree, the school district has to tell you in writing why it thinks your child should go to a different school than the one you want. The district also has to tell you in writing how you can appeal this decision. Your child can still enroll in, attend, and participate fully in the school you think is best for him or her while the disagreement is being settled.
The Montcalm Regional McKinney-Vento Grant Coordinator is Kristen Lindsey at Montcalm Area ISD
Michigan Department of Education McKinney Vento Coordinator Michelle Williams or (517) 241-6977