Homelessness & the McKinney-Vento Act

  • Is your housing uncertain? Do you live at a temporary address? Are you living...
    • With relatives, friends, or others because you lost your housing, or because of economic hardship?
      • In a shelter?
      • In a motel or hotel because you have nowhere else to go?
      • In inadequate housing?  
    You have important school rights and protection under the McKinney-Vento Act. Children and your in temporary housing have the right to:
    • stay in the same school, including pre-k, and get free transportation even if it is across district lines;
    • immediately enroll in school without records (school records, medical records, vaccination records, proof of residency);
    • get special education services immediately if the student has a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP);
    • participate fully in school activities, including before- or after-school activities;
    • get support services and help with things like school supplies through Title I;
    • get free school meals without filling out an application;
    • get help enrolling in pre-k, Head Start, other preschool programs, and Early Intervention; and
    • get help applying for financial aid for college if the student is an unaccompanied youth. 

    Frequently Asked Questions
    Where can I get help?
    Every school district must have a McKinneyVento liaison to help students in temporary housing. Contact information for the liaison at Cheektowaga-Sloan UFSD: 
    (716) 891-6426 
    NOTE: All inquiries and designations will be confidential in nature.  
    Can a school require a student in temporary housing to show proof of residence to register for school?
    No, if a student says they are homeless or in temporary housing, they must be enrolled immediately in school even if they don’t have the papers normally needed, such as proof of residence, immunization records, a birth certificate, guardianship records, or school records.
    Can a student who is living in temporary housing stay in the same school if they move out of the school district?
    Yes, the student may stay in the same school they went to when they were permanently housed. LEAs are required, however to make the determination in the best interest and welfare of the student.
    Can a student enroll themselves in school?
    Yes, if the youth is living in temporary housing and not with their parents or legal guardians (known as unaccompanied youth) they can enroll themselves in school. 
    If a student moves into permanent housing, can they stay in the same school?
    Yes. A student can stay in the same school for the entire time they are in temporary housing and through the end of the school year in which they move into permanent housing. 

    Helpful Links & Resources
    For help with a special education matter, contact the Office of Special Education Quality Assurance or a PTI Center in your area.
    Special Education Quality Assurance Regional Offices: Western Regional Office (585) 344-2002
    Early Childhood Direction Centers provide information about services for children, ages birth through five, who have disabilities.
    To contact the Center in your area, call (518) 486-7462
    For information, referrals, and crisis intervention, contact the National Runaway Switchboard at (800) RUNAWAY (786-2929)
    For information about eviction prevention and public housing, contact the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance at (518) 473-1090
    (800) 942-6906