McKinney-Vento students who are “unaccompanied” (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) are automatically eligible to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as independent students, meaning they do not have to provide a parental income information or signature. However, unaccompanied youth must be verified as such by a school district McKinney-Vento liaison or director of certain shelters or youth programs. It is critical that high school counselors know which students are eligible when they complete the FAFSA and help those students receive proper verification from the liaison.
Natural disasters and other unexpected tragic circumstances place children and their families in very traumatic situations. Simply being in a homeless situation, regardless of the precipitating factors, is often very traumatic. Trauma causes children and families to feel out of control.
Their day-to-day existence becomes unpredictable and chaotic. They often feel that they are helpless to bring order and a semblance of “normalcy” into their own lives.