About McKinney Vento

Homeless Assistance Act

What is McKinney-Vento, exactly?

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is a homeless assistance program and federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states for the purpose of supporting district programs that serve homeless students.

For more information on the National Center for Homeless Education and McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, visit the website for the National Center for Homeless Education.

A student is eligible for McKinney-Vento assistance because of:

  • Temporary homelessness due to hardship
  • Housing that is substandard or considered inadequate
  • Being considered an unaccompanied youth, which refers to a minor not in the custody of a parent or guardian.

Eligible Students have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where or how long they have lived in the area
  • Be given the same access to public education as other students, including pre-K.
  • Continue their education in school of origin or residence
  • Be transported to their original school, if living outside of their school's attendance borders
  • Attend and participate in programs at their school with other students
  • Enroll in school without having a permanent address
  • Attend classes while the school arranges for required enrollment documents (immunization records, etc.)
  • Participate in the same special programs and services provided to all other students in the same programs   
  • Receive Title I services, including free breakfast and lunch all school year, and 30 days into the next school year. 

Automatically eligible families do not have to fill out any paperwork.

Services Provided:

  • Homeless, Neglected, and Delinquent Services
  • Clothing, Uniforms, Undergarments, and Shoes
  • Backpacks, School Supplies, Extracurricular/Elective Fees, and Cap and Gown for graduation
  • Toiletries/ Hygiene Kits
  • Transportation
  • Food Services
    (including services at the Food Pantries at the Wakefield and Southwest Family Resource Centers)

Helping Teens on Their Own

Learn about homeless teens in Pima County and find out what you can do to identify them and assist them. Tucson Unified partners with Youth On Their Own (YOTO) to bring this critical issue to light.

Posted/Revised Date
Explanation of the McKinner Vento: Homeless Assistance Act, how to be eligible, and the services available to Tucson Unified students.
article, 2022-2023, school, tucson, homeless, student
No, McKinney-Vento Program eligibility expires at the end of the qualifying school year, meaning everyone must re-apply after July 1st. Eligibility is then determined for the upcoming school year.
No, public schools must serve all migrant and immigrant children and youth, which is true even if the family or student is undocumented. Migrant and immigrant children who fit into one of the homeless categories are covered under McKinney-Vento.
“School of origin” includes either: the school the child attended during his or her last permanent residence, OR the school in which the child was last enrolled.

No, students who qualify as McKinney-Vento eligible only have 2 options for school selection: School of Origin – (as defined above) OR School of Residency – the school assigned to the attendance area where the student is currently living.
Any student may request to enroll in any school of their choice under ‘open enrollment’, however enrollment is not guaranteed and the student/family must provide their own transportation. McKinney-Vento does not provide transportation for open enrollment.

School districts must provide transportation for students who wish to remain in their schools of origin, even if they move out of district. This exists as long as it is feasible and in the child’s best interest. The homeless liaison can help set this up. School districts often use district school buses, vans, or monthly bus passes. McKinney-Vento transportation for TUSD is coordinated through the TUSD Family and Community Engagement and TUSD Transportation.
In the event of a disagreement, the district has a Dispute Resolution Process in place. The student may enroll in school until the dispute is resolved. The Homeless Liaison can guide you through the Dispute Resolution Process.