McKinney Vento

Updated: October 11, 2021

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McKinney-Vento Public Notice

PLEASE NOTE: If your living arrangement is both temporary and the result of economic hardship, you may qualify for services under the McKinney-Vento Act. The purpose of this law is to provide academic stability for students whose families are in transition.

Please contact the Sunnyside McKinney Vento office at (520) 545-2158 or (520) 545-3460 if your family’s living arrangement is temporary and fits into one of the following categories:

  • You are temporarily living with friends or relatives, or moving from place to place, because you cannot currently afford your own housing.
  • You are living in a shelter.
  • You are living in a motel or hotel.
  • You are living in a place not considered traditional “housing”, like a car or a campground.

A student may also qualify as an “unaccompanied youth” if he or she is living with someone who is not a parent or guardian, or if he or she is moving from place to place without a parent or guardian.

Children who qualify under McKinney-Vento have the right to:

  • Remain in the school they were attending even if they lose their housing and become displaced outside of the school district. This choice must be a reasonable and in the best interest of the children involved. Check with the district Homeless Liaison if you are not sure.
  • Attend the school assigned to the attendance area where they are being sheltered.
  • Stay in this school for the duration of the school year if their family is forced to move to another temporary address because of economic hardship.
  • Receive assistance with transportation to attend school while they are being temporarily housed.
  • Start school immediately while school staff assists in obtaining school, immunization records, or other documents necessary for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school without having a permanent address.
  • Receive Title I services, including free breakfast and lunch.

If you have questions, please contact Araceli Mendoza at (520) 545-2158 or email at

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is McKinney-Vento?

The McKinney-Vento (MV) Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law that provides support and resources for children whose families are experiencing homelessness to help ensure that they have an equal opportunity to succeed in school. Children who qualify for McKinney-Vento services are guaranteed certain rights:

  1. To remain enrolled in their “school of origin” when feasible, or attend the school assigned to the attendance area where they are currently living
  2. To receive transportation to/from school of origin when feasible
  3. Immediate enrollment in school, even if unable to produce all necessary registration documents
  4. Automatic enrollment in FREE lunch
  5. Access to resources and services
  6. Challenge decisions made by school districts

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act was originally signed into law in 1987. It has been amended to address the growing and changing needs of this vulnerable population.

McKinney-Vento applies to all public and charter schools; it does not apply to private schools.

Who determines whether or not a student is eligible for McKinney Vento services?

Every school district must designate a Homeless Liaison. The Liaison can help ensure that students who are homeless are able to enroll so that they may succeed in school. Homeless Liaisons can also help connect the family with resources if necessary. Most importantly, it is the Homeless Liaison who ultimately determines if a student is eligible for McKinney Vento services. SUSD Program eligibility can be determined by contacting the SUSD Title I Department at (520) 545-2158 or (520) 545-3460. For a complete list of Homeless Liaisons by district go to:

Who qualifies for services under the McKinney-Vento Act?

The law states that any child or youth who lacks “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” may qualify for McKinney Vento services.

This may include students who are:

  • Living in a motel or hotel
  • Living in a shelter (i.e. domestic violence shelter)
  • Temporarily staying with friends or relatives due to economic reasons and/or loss of home
  • (Please note: families who choose to live together and share housing do not qualify)
  • Living in places not ordinarily used for sleeping (i.e. cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings)
  • “Unaccompanied youth” (youth who are on their own & not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian)
I qualified for McKinney-Vento services last year. Does this mean I automatically qualify every year?

No. McKinney-Vento Program eligibility expires at the end of the qualifying school year. Everyone must re-apply after July 1st to determine eligibility for the upcoming school year.

Do any special rules apply to Migrant or Immigrant students?

No. Public schools must serve all migrant and immigrant children and youth. This 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.

How does the McKinney-Vento Law define ‘school of origin’?

‘School of origin’ includes either:

  1. the school the child attended during his or her last permanent residence, or
  2. the school in which the child was last enrolled
Can McKinney-Vento Students enroll in any school they want?

No. Students who qualify as McKinney-Vento eligible only have 2 options for school selection:

  1. School of Origin – (as defined above)
  2. 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.

What if a McKinney-Vento student needs transportation to their ‘school of origin’?

School districts must provide transportation for students who wish to remain in their schools of origin, even if they move out of district, 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 SUSD is coordinated through the SUSD Title I Department, (520) 545-2158.

What if our family disagrees with a decision made by the school district?

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.