Washington receives funding each year from the U.S. Department of Education and the Washington State Legislature to support the education of homeless students in school programs. Funding is distributed to LEAs through a competitive grant process. OSPI, as the state educational agency, designates a statewide Education of Homeless Children and Youth Coordinator and a Homeless Student Stability Program Supervisor to provide training and technical assistance, review and create policies and procedures, monitor LEAs for program compliance, provide dispute resolution procedures, to ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness are able to attend and fully participate in school.
The answers to the following document can help determine the services students may be eligible to receive under the McKinney-Vento Act 42 U.S.C. 11435. The McKinney-Vento Act provides services and supports for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
People experiencing homelessness are not a static group; homelessness is a .revolving-door phenomenon. It is estimated that, over the course of a year, between 2.3 and 3.5 million people will experience homelessness, of which between 900,000 and 1.4 million will be children.
The main cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing. While this lack alone is often enough to cause homelessness, when combined with other factors such as low wages, unemployment, domestic violence, illness, mental health issues, and addiction, the risk of experiencing homelessness increases dramatically. Unaccompanied youth are youth not in the physical custody of a parent of guardian. The primary causes of homelessness among unaccompanied youth are physical or sexual abuse by a parent or guardian, neglect, parental substance abuse, and family conflict.
Many people view homelessness as a fringe issue, affecting only “certain kinds of people” on the edges of society. This view does not reflect the changing demographics of homelessness in the United States , including a steady rise in homelessness among families with children. Consider the following questions:
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not immune to homelessness. These questions are not meant to create alarm, but rather to spread awareness that people experiencing homelessness are people just like us. They desire financial stability and a secure home, but have confronted difficult circumstances without sufficient resources to overcome the situation and remain housed.
Children experiencing homelessness face great challenges. High mobility, precarious living conditions, and poverty combine to present significant educational, health and emotional difficulties. Consider this:
Homeless children are truly among our nation’s neediest and most at risk.
During the 1980s, the federal government recognized the magnitude of the problem of homelessness within our country and, more specifically, the increasing incidences of homelessness among families with children and unaccompanied youth. To address this issue, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, reauthorized most recently as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This act guarantees homeless children and youth the following:
Learn more about Mckinney-Vento from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website.