Research and data, including surveys of homeless and formerly homeless youths, indicate that experiencing homelessness can have significant negative impacts on children academically, socially, and emotionally. The Education for Homeless Children and Youths (EHCY) program, authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento Act), is designed to address the needs of homeless children and youths and ensure educational rights and protections for these children and youths. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) amended the McKinney-Vento Act, and changes made by the ESSA will take effect on October 1, 2016.
While every LEA must have a McKinney-Vento liaison, the number of homeless students and the scope of their needs may be challenging for just one person to address. That is what makes the role of teachers (including early childhood educators), school leaders, counselors, and other staff so critical. Though homeless children and youths may face great challenges, a caring adult who can ensure that a student’s rights are upheld and can connect him or her to other supports can make a world of difference. This fact sheet provides tips for how to help homeless students in your school or district.