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Homeless Resources



  • The Stewart B. McKinney Assistance Act of 1994 is the primary federal legislation that directly addresses the education of homeless children and youth. The McKinney Act is important in educating homeless children.

Should a student/family become homeless, as defined by the following criteria listed below, they should immediately notify their campus homeless liaison. The campus homeless liaison will provide the proper form(s) for documenting their new status and offer assistance as needed.

The federal McKinney-Vento Act and Texas state law guarantee that you can enroll in school if you live:

    • in a shelter (family shelter, domestic violence shelter, youth shelter or transitional living program;
    • in a motel, hotel, or weekly-rate housing;
    • in a house or apartment with more than one family because of economic hardship or loss;
    • in an abandoned building, a car, at a campground, or on the street;
    • in substandard housing (no electricity, no water, and/or no heat); or
    • with friends or family because you are a runaway or unaccompanied youth.


Homeless FAQs

Who is homeless?

(McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act) 

The term “homeless children and youth”—

  1. means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…; and
  2. includes —
    1. children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; 
    2. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings…
    3. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
    4. migratory children...who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this
      subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (1) through (3).


What is a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence?

Fixed means that the residence is stationary or permanent.  A regular residence is one which is used on a regular nightly basis.  Adequate refers to a residence that is sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in a home environment.


What is an unaccompanied youth?

Children who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian or could be running away from home even if their parents desire for the youth to return home.


What age does the McKinney-Vento Act cover?

This act applies to children and youth age 21 and under, but generally provides access to all students until high school graduation or equivalent, or until age 18.


How "immediate" is immediate enrollment?

The McKinney-Vento Act requires schools to enroll students experiencing homelessness immediately, even if the student is unable to provide documents that are typically required for enrollment.


Can a school require a caregiver to get legal guardianship to enroll a student in school?

No. The McKinney-Vento Act requires states to address enrollment barriers related to lack of guardianship in school enrollment and requires school districts to enroll youth even if they lack a legal guardian or necessary documents.


Does a student who has been classified as homeless pay for their meals at school?

Homeless students are eligible for free meals at school.  A free lunch application is not required.   The homeless liaison will contact food services to assure that the meals are marked as free.


McKinney-Vento Resources:





Helping Homeless Students

Download: 10 Things YOU Can Do to Help Children in Homeless Situations (pdf 88kb)