Students Experiencing Homelessness

The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires all school districts to ensure access to public education for children and youth experiencing homelessness and to ensure their success in school once enrolled.

The McKinney-Vento Act ensures the educational rights and protections of students
who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.  This includes students who are:

  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • Sharing the housing of other people due to loss of housing or economic hardship;
  • Living in motels, hotels or camping grounds due to the lack of an alternative adequate accommodation;
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations, or similar settings.

Get Information and Support!

Families of students experiencing homelessness should contact their district's local homeless education liaison for more information on the services and supports that may be available to them.  

The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.  Under the McKinney-Vento Act, students experiencing homelessness have certain educational rights, including the right to:

  • Immediately enroll in school, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment;
  • Enroll and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;
  • Continue attending their school of origin (if requested and is feasible), or enroll in the local school;
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested;
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students.

The law also provides protections to homeless children and youth, including:

  • State or local policies must not keep homeless children and youth from attending school; and,
  • Homeless children and youth must not be segregated.

Further Information

  • NCHE Parent Brouchure / En Español [PDF] - Explains the educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness and informs parents about ways in which they can support their children's education during times of mobility.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act authorizes RIDE to award grants to local school districts for the development and implementation or continuation of programs to provide supplementary educational and related services to homeless children and youth.  Every three years, RIDE offers a competitive grant application process for funds available through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.


The Rhode Island Department of Education is offering Rhode Island school districts an opportunity to apply for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act funds for 2013-2014. Please find the complete RFP application and required budget forms below, along with related information and guidance.
All applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. on July 19, 2013. Any application that is received after that time will not be considered for a McKinney-Vento grant award.

Please mail one grant application packet with original signatures and (5) five copies to:

Rhode Island Department of Education
Attn: Sherry Germain
Office of Student, Community and Academic Supports
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903