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How does the law decide which students are considered homeless or unhoused and what are their rights in school?

Is my student considered unhoused or experiencing homelessness?

Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homeless is defined as students who, “lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Examples include: students who live in a shelter, in a car, or on the street, are doubling up with family or friends or who couch surf, or students living in a home with problems like bugs, mold, leaks, etc.

Can an unhoused student without access to important papers still enroll in a public or charter school?

Yes, unhoused students in public or charter schools have the right to enroll even if they do not have all the documents normally required to enroll, like birth records, shot records, or utility bills.

My student attends school in one district, but is now staying at a shelter or with friends in another district, will the school provide transportation?

When staying at the same school is best for the student, public and charter schools must provide transportation to keep the student at their last school. The school districts must provide transportation even if the student no longer stays close to the last school or even if the student is outside the school district.

Is there a person at my student’s school responsible for helping unhoused students?

Every public and charter school must have a person in charge of finding and helping unhoused students. The person is often called a McKinney Vento homeless liaison and sometimes works in the pupil services office. If additional help is needed, call the Ohio Department of Education’s McKinney-Vento Coordinator at (614) 387-7725.

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