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

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PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, the resources on this page may not be current.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.

Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

Determining Eligibility for McKinney-Vento

Resources | Forms | Laws and Guidance

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is federal legislation that discusses the public education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. Under McKinney-Vento and state law, students are considered homeless if they lack a nighttime residence that is fixed, regular, and adequate. Examples of temporary housing explicity 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 eligibilty 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 assist school and school district staff in applying the definition of homelessness under the Act 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 eligibile for services under McKinney-Vento.


Housing Questionnaire [Word doc]

This new Housing Questionnaire should be used by all local educational agencies (LEAs), which include school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, as the first page of the enrollment packet for all newly enrolling students, and should also be completed by all students/families who 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 and encourages all other LEAs, to use the new Housing Questionnaire, which 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 as a model process for immediately enrolling students experiencing homelessness in school once they are identified.

Laws and Guidance

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act [PDF]

Eligibility is discussed in Section 725(2).

New York State Education Law Section 3209 [Word doc]

Eligiblity is discussed in Section 3209(a)(2).

Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Concerning Homeless Children and Youth Section 100.2(x)

These Regulations of the Commissioner address the educational rights of students experiencing homelessness and the obligations of school districts to provide services to these students.

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

This Field Memo from the State Education Education clarifies the use of shared housing and proof of residency affidavits in the enrollment of students claiming to be homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Act and NYS Education Law and regulations.

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

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education issued updated 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 that reflect both the amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act made by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which take effect on October 1, 2016, and new technical assistance on promising practices for implementing homeless education requirements at the State and local levels.


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