Special Services » Homeless Education

Homeless Education

The McKinney-Vento Act guarantees school enrollment for anyone who, due to a lack of permanent housing, lives in inadequate or temporary settings, such as:

  • Emergency or transitional shelters
  • Motels, hotels, or campgrounds
  • Cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, abandoned buildings
  • Doubled up with relatives or friends due to loss of housing or economic hardship
  • Awaiting foster care placement
  • In these conditions and is a migratory child or youth

So, if your child is 5-18 years of age, he/she has the right to attend school even if. . .

  • You live in a shelter, and ….
  • You don’t have a permanent address.
  • You share temporary housing with relatives or friends.
  • You reside in transitional housing.
  • You live in a car, on the street, or other temporary shelter.


Did you know?

  • You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
  • Your child cannot be denied school enrollment when school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
  • Your child may be able to remain in the same school (school of origin) even if you move.
  • Your child has the right to transportation services to and from the school of origin based on the best interest of the student at the time of the request.
  • Your child automatically qualifies to participate in free breakfast and lunch programs while living in situations that meet the definition of homeless.
  • Unaccompanied youth lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing have these same rights.


What Parents Can Do?

  • Talk to the principal, counselor social worker, teacher or school nurse about your housing situation.
  • Ask about programs that are available to help your child.
  • Seek information about the school close to where you are living.
  • When possible, bring birth certificates and school and immunizations records when you enroll your child in school.
  • Ask where you can get school supplies.
  • Ask that records be transferred from your child’s previous school.
  • Let school personnel know if your child has previously received special education services.
  • Ask which community agencies and resources may be available to help your family.


Contact Information

Washington County Schools Homeless Education Liaison
Karen Peterson
Department of Special Services
812 Thompson Street
Abingdon, VA 24210

Phone: 276-739-3044
Email: [email protected]

Virginia State Homeless Education Coordinator
Patricia A. Popp, Ph.D.
Sandra K. Geringer, M.Ed., Office Manager
Project HOPE-Virginia
College of William and Mary
School of Education
Post Office Box 8795
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795

Phone: (757) 221-4002 or 1-877-455-3412
TDD: (757) 221-2302
Fax: (757) 221-5300
E-mail: [email protected][email protected]

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