What Exactly is Considered Homelessness?
The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that defines “Homelessness.” It states that students should be considered homeless when they lack a fixed, adequate and regular nighttime residence and specifies what school districts’ obligations are.
Fixed means having a residence that is stationary, permanent, and not subject to geographic relocation. Adequate means the residence sufficiently meets physical and psychological needs of the student so that s/he can appropriately participate in school. Regular means the student intends and is able to use the residence on a nightly basis.
For example, a student would be considered homeless if s/he were living in an emergency or transitional housing shelter, shared housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship ("doubled-up" or “couch surfing”), was living in hotels/ motels/ campgrounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing or living in cars, parks, etc.
All school-age children are covered under this law. In New York State this includes all children until they receive their high school diploma, or through the school year in which they turn 21 years old, whichever comes first.
Homeless students have certain protections:
- They can choose to remain in their current school even if they have moved to a different district.
- They can immediately enroll in school without the paperwork normally required for enrollment.
- They are eligible for transportation to the school they designate.
- They automatically qualify for free breakfast and lunch and do not have to complete the application, but need to see the homeless liaison.
What should you do if you think a student is homeless?
Contact the school district’s homeless liaison or one of the two homeless liaisons at WSWHE BOCES. At the Southern Adirondack Education Center, email Kristen Carey or call 518-746-3435.
At the F. Donald Myers Education Center, email Miriam Davis-Doern or call 518-581-3690.
Local Homeless Youth and Code Blue Shelters
Margaret DeVries, Executive Director
PO Box 3252
Glens Falls, NY 12801
|CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services
Andy Gilpin, Executive Director
5 Municipal Plaza
Clifton Park, NY 12065
Phone: 24 hrs: 1-800-924-4636
Phone: Shelter: 584-6042