The Mckinney - Vento Act

6 years ago

The McKinney - Vento is the primary piece of federal legistlation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S Public Schools. It was reauthorized Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.

Who is Homeless?

The definition of  "homeless" includes individuals:

  1. •Lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence

  2. •Share the housing of others due to financial hardship

  3. •Live in motels, hotels, travel trailer parks, camping grounds, substandard housing due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations

  4. •Living in emergency or transitional shelters

  5. •Abandoned in hospitals

  6. •Awaiting foster care placement

  7. •Living in a public or private place not designated for human to live

  8. •Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, bus, or train stations, etc

  9. •Migratory children in above circumstances

School Board Homeless Education Policy

6 years ago

Children who meet the federal definition of homeless and live within the county shall be admitted to school in the Columbia County School District and shall have access to free public education including preschool, given the opportunity to meet local and state academic achievement standards, and be included in State and District assessments and accountability systems.

(1)           Definitions 


A.           Homeless Children and Youth 


Individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes 


(a)          Are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, 

           economic hardship or a similar reason; doubled-up; 


(b)          Are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer parks, or camping grounds   

           due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; 


(c)            Are living in emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in 

           hospitals, or awaiting foster care placement; 


(d)       Are living in a primary nighttime residence that is not designated  for, or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings; (cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings) or 


(e)       Are migratory children and youth who qualify as homeless because    

     they are living in circumstances described in II.A.1. through II.A.5. 


B.           Unaccompanied Youth – A student who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 


C.           School of Origin – The school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school where the child or youth was last enrolled. 


D.           Enroll and Enrollment – Attending school and participating fully in school activities. 


E.           Immediate – Without delay. 


F.            Parent – Parent or guardian of a student. 


G.           Liaison – The staff person designated by the District as the person responsible for carrying out the duties assigned to the liaison by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. 


(2)          The District shall identify homeless students as defined by federal and state law. 


(3)          The District shall seek to remove barriers and provide exemptions to the enrollment and retention of homeless children and youth, such as guardianship, transportation, immunization, physicals, residency, birth certificates, school records, and other documentation. 


(4)          Each homeless student shall be provided the services that are comparable to other students including at parents, guardian’s, or liaison’s request transportation to and from school of origin, school nutrition programs, before and after school programs, and education services for which the child meets the eligibility criteria such as exceptional education, gifted education, vocational and technical programs, preschool programs, Title I, and programs for English language learners, and are given meaningful opportunities to succeed in school. 


(5)          The District shall provide access of homeless preschool-aged children and their families to educational services for which they are eligible, including preschool programs administered by the school district. 


(6)          Homeless students shall be allowed to remain in the school of origin to the extent feasible, unless this is contrary to the wishes of the parents. 


(7)          Homeless students and/or parents shall have the right to dispute school selection if placement is other than the school of origin.  The District shall ensure that unaccompanied youth and the parents of homeless students are notified of the right to remain in the school of origin and of the dispute process. 


(8)          If requested by the parent of a homeless child or by the liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth, the District shall be responsible for providing transportation to and from the school of origin throughout the duration of homelessness.  


(9)          Homeless students shall not be stigmatized, segregated, or separated in any educational program on the basis of their homeless status. 


(10)       The District shall follow the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. 


STATUTORY AUTHORITY:   1001.41, 1001.42, 1003.21, F.S. 


LAW(S) IMPLEMENTED:     1000.21, 1001.43, 1003.01, 1003.21, 1003.22, F.S. 




HISTORY:   ADOPTED:  NEW: 01/12/10 


Rights and Services

Rights of Homeless children and youth:

•Immediate school enrollment and attendance, even without birth records, school records, immunization, and/or health physical (Florida Statute s. 1003.22 •Remain at their school of origin or enroll in their neighborhood school for the duration of the current academic school year. •Transportation to and from school. •Receive free breakfast and lunch for the remainder of the school year. •Help for prompt resolutions about school placement including special education, bilingual education, gifted and remedial programs. •Access to Title 1 school services.

Services provided by the Liaison and the Homeless Education Program are: •Training of school staff and community partners on identification and enrollment of homeless students. •Collaboration with District Attendance Liaison to identify and resolve attendance issues.
•Coordination with the District Transportation Department to ensure transportation of homeless students to the “school of origin” if requested by parent. •Coordination with District Food Service Department to ensure Free Lunch and Breakfast for homeless students. •Academic achievement will be addressed through tutors funded by Title X-Homeless Education program to provide homework and academic support to students living in shelters. Additionally, homeless students in need of academic support but do not live in shelters can be provided with tutorial support as well through Title 1 school services, existing after-school tutorial services or other available academic supports. •Parental Involvement will be addressed through trainings that teach academic support skills to parents of homeless students. •Collaboration with agencies outside of school district to provide resources to families of homeless students, i.e. food bank, health department, housing. •Coordination with school staff to obtain school records, physicals, immunization, and other necessary information. •Awareness activities will be provided to increase school staff to respond to the unique needs of homeless children and youth. The District Homeless Liaison will also participate in local homeless coalition to increase community awareness services available to student identified as homeless. •Purchase school supplies/backpacks and other items needed to ensure academic success of our homeless students. •Assistance with items that allow our homeless students to fully participate in the educational process, i.e. Cap/gown, field trips, fees for school participation in football, cheerleading, chorus.

Community Resources

6 years ago

By Allan Jameson

“Impossible only means that you haven’t found the solution yet.”

There are many resources in Columbia County to help with the different needs of the homeless.  Below are a list of some of them.


Homeless Services Network of Suwannee Valley c/o United Way of Suwannee Valley

325 NE Hernando Ave., Lake City, FL 

(386) 752-5604

Business hours: 8:30-5:00 pm  M-F

Serves Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Suwannee Counties

Suwannee River Economic Council

(386) 752-8726

Business hours: 9:00-5:00 pm M-F

Serves Columbia County

*Assistance with rent and utility bills

Christian Service Center

Corner of Hilton St. and Washington St. in Lake City, FL

(386) 755-1770

Business Hours: 10:00- 4:00 pm  M-F

Serves Columbia County

*Emergency assistance with food, clothes, household items, prescriptions, bus tickets, partial assistance with rent or utilities

Department of Children and Families

1389 W. US Hwy 90, Lake City, FL 

(866) 762-2237

Serves Columbia, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties

*medicaid, temporary cash assistance to those qualified

Catholic Charities Bureau, Inc

258 NW Burk Ave., Lake City, FL

(386) 754-9180

Business Hours: 7:30-12:00 pm  M-F

Serves Columbia, Hamilton, Suwannee, and Lafayette Counties

*Emergency assistance with food, utilities, rent, medications, shelter, bus tickets, and household items

Lad's Soup Kitchen

127 NW Escambia St., Lake City, FL

(386) 758-2217

Business Hours: Breakfast 7:30-9:30 am  M-F and Lunch 12:00-2:00 pm  M-F

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc

334 NW Lake City Ave, Lake City, FL

(386) 755-5960

*Free civil legal services to eligible persons. Eviction and foreclosure defense, social security benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid/Medicare issues

Another Way or Vivid Visions

(800) 500-1119

*Shelter for domestic violence

Greenpath, Inc  

725 SE Baya Drive, Suite 107, Lake City, FL 32025

(386) 755-5350 or (800) 245-1865

Business Hours: Mon-Fri  8:00 am to 5:00 pm

*Provides credit and budget counseling, debt repayment plans, credit report review and financial education