McKinney-Vento (Homeless Assistance)

McKinney-Vento Act


  • In a shelter, emergency housing, or transitional housing
  • Doubled up with other people due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
  • Staying in a motel or hotel due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
  • Living in a vehicle, camper, motor home, park, campground, public space, abandoned building, or substandard housing due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations

Your school-age children may qualify for certain rights and protections under the federal McKinney-Vento Act.


Under the McKinney-Vento Act, your eligible children have the right to:

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference. **If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your children, then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal its decision.
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this.
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your children’s needs.


If you believe your children may be eligible, contact the people below to find out what services and supports may be available. There also may be supports available for your preschool-age children.

  • The counselor at your child’s school
  • Pullman School District Local Liaison – Paula Bates 509-332-3144
  • For all Washington State technical assistance questions and inquiries, you may contact the McKinney-Vento Office at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at 360-725-6505 or
  • If you need further assistance with your children’s educational needs, you may contact the National Center for Homeless Education at 1-800-308-2145 or*


The McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act is a federal law that ensures immediate enrollment and educational stability for homeless children and youth. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states for the purpose of supporting district programs that serve homeless students.


Defining Homeless

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters or transitional housing (this generally includes a time limit on the housing assistance and case management by the housing agency)
  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations


Annual Notifications Related to McKinney Vento-Act                       Resources for Homeless Children & Youth