NYS-TEACHS › Info by Topic: Determining Eligibility for McKinney-Vento

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Determining Eligibility for McKinney-Vento

Resources | Forms | Laws and Guidance

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a federal law that discusses the public education of children and youth in temporary housing. Under McKinney-Vento and state law, students are considered to be in temporary housing if their nighttime residenc is not fixed, regular, and adequate. Some examples of temporary housing include:

  • Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship or other similar reason,
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds,
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters,
  • Abandoned in hospitals,
  • Living a in public or private place not designed for sleeping,
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, etc.
  • Migratory living in circumstances described above,

Click on the links below to get more information on determining eligibility under the McKinney-Vento Act.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Find answers to commonly asked questions about determining whether a student is eligible under the McKinney-Vento Act.


Determining Eligibility for Rights and Services Under the McKinney-Vento Act

This issue brief, from the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), provides background on the McKinney-Vento Act and is designed to help school staff members in applying the definition of homelessness under the law to individual children and youth.

Confirming Eligibility for McKinney-Vento Services: Do's and Don'ts for Local Liaisons

This issue brief from NCHE provides helpful information on what to do and what not to do when determining if a student is eligible for services under McKinney-Vento. Please note: this document does not include information about the newly strengthened privacy protections for students in temporary housing. With the reauthorization of McKinney-Vento under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016, there are stronger privacy protections that protect the confidentiality of address information for students in temporary housing. For more information, please see our page on student privacy


Housing Questionnaire [Word doc]

This new Housing Questionnaire should be used by all school districts as the first page of the enrollment packet for all newly enrolling students. The Housing Questionnaire should also be given to all students/families any time they report a change of address. The Housing Questionnaire was updated on November 11, 2016, and it replaces the former Enrollment Form/Residency Questionnaire. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires all LEAs that receive Title I funds (including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES) to use the Housing Questionnaire. NYSED also encourages all other Local Educational Agencies, to use the Housing Questionnaire, because it asks about students' living arrangements in order to identify students experiencing homelessness in the school district.

Sample Enrollment Process for Students in Temporary Housing [Word doc]

This is a Sample Enrollment Process that school districts may follow for immediately enrolling temporarily housed students in school.

NEW! Template End-of-Year Letter

Districts are encouraged to check in with parents whose children are McKinney-Vento eligible (or youth themselves in the case of unaccompanied homeless youth) at the end of each school year to determine whether their housing situation has changed and make appropriate arrangements for the next school year if there has been a change. This template letter can be used to reach out to families for this purpose.

Laws and Guidance

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, Reauthorized by Title IX Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act [PDF]

This document is the full text of the federal law reauthorizing the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education ASsistance Act. The McKinney-VEnto Act was reauthorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which went into effect on October 1, 2016. Eligibility is discussed in Section 11434A(2).

Amended New York State Education Law Section 3209, Education of Homeless Children [PDF]

Important changes to New York Education Law Section 3209 governing the rights of students in temporary housing went into effect on April 20, 2017. The changes reflect updates to the federal McKinney-Vento Act that were made under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A clean version of Education Law 3209 is available here. A marked-up version of Education Law 3209 highlighting the changes is available here. Eligibility is discussed in Section 3209(a)(2).

Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program: Non-Regulatory Guidance [PDF]

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new Non-Regulatory Guidance for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. This revised Non-Regulatory Guidance for the McKinney-Vento program replaces the July 2016 Guidance and includes new questions about the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which took effect on October 1, 2016, and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.

NYSED Field Memo: McKinney-Vento Guidance Regarding Shared Housing Affidavit [PDF]

This Field Memo from the State Education Department talks about limits on when school districts can use shared housing and proof of residency affidavits in the enrollment of students claiming to be homeless. Please note: this document does not contain the most up-to-date housing questionnaire. For that document, please see above.


Workshops and Training Materials

Training and Workshop Materials