McKinney-Vento (Homeless Student Services)

Contact Information

Sparta Area Schools homeless program is provided collaboratively with the Kent Intermediate School District and the State of Michigan. In accordance with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act of 2001, our program strives to eliminate barriers to education for homeless children and youth by addressing and supporting the educational needs of students who find themselves in temporary or transitional housing during the school year.

If you are in need of assistance please contact our local Homeless Education Liaison:

Erin Kavanagh
Director of Student Services

What is the purpose of the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program?
The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.  Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.  Homeless children and youth should have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging state student academic achievement standards to which all students are held.  In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.  States and districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices, or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of homeless children and youth.

What is the statutory authority for the McKinney-Vento program?
The program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC 11431 et seq.), (McKinney-Vento Act).  The program was originally authorized in 1987 and, most recently, reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

What is mean by the term "homeless children and youth"?
The McKinney-Vento Act defines "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence.  The term includes:

  • Children and youth who are:  sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up); living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; living in emergency or transitional shelters; abandoned hospitals; or awaiting foster care placement.
  • Children and youth who have a primary night-time residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.

Where can Homeless children and youth attend school?

  • The school of origin:  the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was enrolled.
  • The local attendance area school:  any public school that non-homeless students live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

Can students experiencing homelessness be denied enrollment for lacking paperwork that is normally required for enrollment?

  • No.  Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to immediate enrollment, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment, such as: Birth certificate, immunization or other health/medical records, previous academic records, proof of residence, and proof of guardianship.