Educating Homeless Scholars


The mission of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program is to ensure free, appropriate, public educational opportunities for homeless children and youths; to provide technical assistance to schools, shelters and the community; and to heighten awareness of homeless issues. Homeless children and youth should have equal access to the same educational opportunities and services as non-homeless children and youth. In addition, homeless children and youth should have the opportunity to meet the same challenging academic achievement standards to which all students are held pursuant to Every Student Succeeds Act and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act federal law. Please contact [email protected] if you have questions on McKinney-Vento or other related topics.

What is the definition of homeless children and youths?

  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and includes children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelter (including D.C. transitional housing); are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
  • Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a private or public 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 building, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above; and
  • Unaccompanied youth, including youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, who qualify as homeless because they live in circumstances described above.

Can a homeless child enroll in school?

Yes. The child may continue enrollment in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness. The school of origin is the one the child attended prior to becoming homeless or the school in which the child was last enrolled. The child may also enroll in the school for the attendance area where he or she is living temporarily. If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment, the school must immediately enroll the homeless student in the school, pending resolution of the dispute. If the local school cannot resolve the dispute, the school must follow the Dispute Resolution Process, not to exceed 15 days. The local school must provide the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth with a written statement of the school placement decision and the appeal rights.

Whom should be contacted if a dispute arises regarding enrolling a homeless child or youth in school or if other assistance is needed?

The Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program has been designed to assist children and youth who are experiencing homelessness and their families regarding educational issues. If a homeless child or youth is experiencing difficulty in enrolling in school, please contact the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Office at (202)741-0470. The school’s social worker has been designated as the McKinney-Vento coordinator at each campus and should be contacted for any additional assistance or grievances.  For additional information on dispute resolution please click here.

What services are provided by the Homeless Children and Youth Program?

The Homeless Children and Youth Program provides the following services: transportation assistance; dispute resolution; emergency school enrollment assistance; special projects; Homeless Awareness Month; staff development; and interagency collaboration.

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW

Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call, toll free, (866) 632-9992 (Voice). TDD users can contact USDA through local relay or the Federal Relay at (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (relay voice users). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Also, the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, approved December 13, 1977 (DC Law 2-38; D.C. Official Code § 2- 1402.11(2006), as amended) states the following:

It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based upon the actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of any individual. To file a complaint alleging discrimination on one of these bases, please contact the District of Columbia’s Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-3545.

D.C. Code § 2-1402.11.