at Advocates for Children
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New York, NY 10001
Students who are temporarily displaced due to disaster are protected by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, a federal law that discusses the public education of students in temporary housing. The definition of homelessness under this Act is broad, and it covers students who are doubling up with friends or family due to loss of housing, as well as students in shelters, vehicles, and other temporary arrangements. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, students in temporary housing are entitled to free transportation back to their school of origin, or they can enroll immediately in the new local school where they are temporarily residing.
Find answers to commonly asked questions about protections and services available to students impacted by natural disasters under the McKinney-Vento Act.
NYS-TEACHS Guides & Resources
- Supporting Children and Youth Displaced by Disasters: Five Key Policies for Schools: SchoolHouse Connection published this brief detailing the five key policies and quick tips for implementation to better support children and youth displaced by disasters. Schools can be a place of stability, normalcy, and support for children and youth who are displaced by disasters. Liaisons also may be able to connect younger siblings with early childhood resources to provide safety, stability and a place to be a child as parents seek to rebuild.
- Know Your Rights! Informational Flyer: This flyer can be distributed following a natural disaster to help families and youth understand their educational rights. It includes space to add local contact information.
- Know Your Rights! Informational Flyer (NYC): This flyer can be distributed following a natural disaster to help families and youth understand their educational rights. It includes space to add local contact information.
- Tip Sheets to the Educational Rights of Students in Temporary Housing: Available for New York State and New York City
- Free Meals: Students in temporary housing are categorically eligible for free meals
Resources for School Districts
- Helping Families and Schools Recover in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: This September 2017 presentation from the U.S. Department of Education, titled “Helping Families and Schools Recover in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” has important information about how school districts can better help students affected by Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters, including information about supports for students made homeless by a natural disaster and specific steps school districts can take to help students, families, and schools recover.
- A McKinney-Vento Toolbox: Constructing a Robust and Rigorous Homeless Education Program, In Case of Disaster and Every Day This toolbox, from the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), contains a wealth of information, lessons learned, and resources developed during the recovery process following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.
- NCHE's Connecting Schools and Displaced Students Handbook Series These printable handbooks relay disaster-related school information to parents, relief agencies, and school districts.
- NCHE's Helping Students Cope Resource Page This page provides a number of resources for working with students who have been affected by natural disaster.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network's website has a large array or information and resources for parents and teachers including: What you should know about hurricanes and how they impact children and the Teacher Guidelines for Helping Students after a Hurricane
- New York State Education Department Disaster Assistance: List of resources for hurricane and other storm damage recovery.
- Supportive Housing Network of NY: Supportive housing providers across New York serve tenants in damaged and flooded residences. Below, you'll find information on how you can make cash donations or donate other goods. You'll also find details on how you can volunteer or receive assistance from various government agencies.
If you or your loved ones have been affected by hurricane and are in need of assistance, you can register with FEMA for aid. To do so, call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 or register online at www.disasterassistance.gov
The Red Cross provides shelter throughout affected areas. Visit their website for a listing www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
Additional information about hurricane victim aid and ways everyone can help in the relief effort can be found in the following links:
NYSED and the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) have agreed to allow students who were displaced by Hurricane Irma or Maria and subsequently enrolled in a high school in New York State to be offered the opportunity to complete either the New York State diploma requirements or the requirements to earn a diploma from Puerto Rico. This applies to students who had attained 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in Puerto Rico by October 2017. This field memo provides information on the PRDE graduation requirements, the process to request a Puerto Rico high school diploma, and how to code students in SIRS. For more information, contact the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages at (518) 474-8775.
This May 2018 Field Memo provides information about applying for additional funding from two disaster relief programs: Temporary Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students and Assistance for Homeless Children and Youth. These programs were announced in early May by the United States Department of Education to support schools that have enrolled students displaced by recent natural disasters. Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, will be required to complete a survey on the SEDMonitoring platform by June 15, 2018, even if no displaced students have been enrolled.
This October 2017 Field Memo provides information and resources for local educational agencies (LEAs), including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, regarding the rights of and services available to students displaced by recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
NYSED Field Memo: Extreme Weather Events: Hurricane Sandy/Nor'easter and Transportation for Nonpublic, Homeless and Charter School Students
This November 2012 Field Memo provides information about transportation of students post-Superstorm Sandy, including students attending nonpublic schools. However, please note that transportation protections, privacy protections, and access to pre-school programs, for example, have been exanded under state and federal law since the memo was published.
NYSED Field Memo: Extreme Weather Events in New York State and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento)
This November 2012 Field Memo describes how and when McKinney-Vento protections apply to students displaced by a disaster.
This memo, last updated in November 2012, answers a number of questions regarding the education of students after a severe weather event.
Special Education Advisory: School Districts Impacted by Hurricane Sandy and Requests for Flexibility in Special Education Requirements
This November 2012 advisory was issued in response to inquiries about waivers/flexibility for special education requirements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The advisory also reviews requirements of LEAs under the McKinney-Vento Act to provide comparable services to enrolling students in temporary housing.
Upcoming Workshops and Trainings
Stay tuned for our Fall 2018 workshop and training schedule.