What’s the McKinney-Vento (Homeless Assistance) Act?

What’s the McKinney-Vento (Homeless Assistance) Act?

Education is a protected right, but a little more complicated to ensure for those experiencing unstable housing. The McKinney-Vento Act (MVA) reinforces a child’s right to enroll while their records paperwork is pending, receive comparable services to their peers and transportation to/from school, and more!

MVA was first enacted in 1997 and then reauthorized in 2015 with “Every Student Succeeds Act” (took effect in 2016). It protects a child’s educational rights for: immediate enrollment; free, appropriate public education; that they can attend even when records not present; can remain in same school, despite moving housing if in the child’s best interest; dispute reputation process can be initiated if guardian or child disagrees with enrollment decision. It also states that keiki can receive comparable services as housed peers: supportive and academic services; transportation to/from school; public bus passes; if applicable, modified bus routes. MVA ensures coordination with public/private service providers and agencies in the child’s best interest, protects privacy of student records, emphasizes future success–college prep/career readiness–establishes local liaisons to advocate on behalf of homeless children.

Who is MVA assistance for?

  • Those living doubled up: staying with friends or family because household cannot afford own rent.
  • Those living unsheltered: on the beach/at a campground/in a park; in a hotel; in a tent/car/bus; or in other non-permanent structure.
  • Those living in emergency, transitional, or domestic violence shelters; without a regular place to stay at night.
  • Children awaiting foster care placement.

During the 2019-2020 school year, 3,500 children in Hawaii lived in unstable housing and qualified for MVA protected assistance. 70% of them lived doubled up – meaning, they weren’t on the streets or in shelters, they were staying with family/friends. MVA allows keiki to have adults in the public and private sector rooting for them in words and actions.

To find out more how keiki are affected by unstable housing, read our blog post from last fall here.

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