Homeless Education Program (HEP)
Serving Florida’s Children Bridging the Gap between Home and School
Every Child Has a Right to an Education
The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act states that children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence are considered homeless.
If, due to a loss of housing, a child must live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground, on the street, in abandoned buildings, or doubled-up with relatives or friends, then he/she is eligible to receive services provided under the McKinney-Vento Act.
The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.
Homeless children and youth must have access to the educational and other services that they need to enable them to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards to which all students are held. In addition, homeless students may not be separated from the mainstream school environment.
To find the Homeless Education Liaison in a Florida School District, go to the online district staff directory for Federal Educational Programs at https://app1.fldoe.org/flbpso/nclbchoice/bpsoDirectory/directory.aspx. Under Program Area, click on Title X Homeless Contacts, select a school district, and click Submit.
Under McKinney-Vento, children (PreK-12) have the right to:
- Continue to attend the school they last attended before they lost their housing (school of origin), if that is the parent/ guardian’s choice and is in the child’s best interest, or the school which is zoned for their temporary residence.
- Enroll and attend classes immediately while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records and other required enrollment documents.
- If necessary, enroll and attend classes in the school selected by the parent/guardian (school of origin or zoned school), while the school and the parent/guardian seek to resolve a dispute over which school is in the best interest of the child – NOTE: This does not mean any school in the district, only the school of origin or zoned school.
- Receive transportation to the school of origin (if a parent/guardian requests such transportation).
Participate in any school programs and receive any school services for which they qualify.
Federal/State Laws and Statutes
Federal Laws/Guidance/Resources Pertaining to the Education of Homeless Children and Youth:
- McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, as amended, Title VII, Subtitle B; 42 U.S.C. 11431-11435
- McKinney-Vento Act Non-Regulatory Guidance (July 2016) (Word)
- U.S. Department of Education Enrollment Guidelines (Federal Register: March 8, 2002) (Volume 67, Number 46)
- U.S. Department of Education 2006 Report to Congress (Word)
- Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children Reauthorization Act
- Categorical Eligibility for Free Lunches and Breakfasts of Runaway, Homeless, and Migrant Youth: Reauthorization 2004 Implementation (PDF)
- Updated Guidance for Homeless Children in the School Nutrition Programs (April 4, 2002) (PDF)
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (October 2008) (PDF)
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Head Start Act
- Head Start Reauthorization (December 2007) (PDF)
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Child Find (IDEA)
- State of Florida Statutes Pertaining to Education of Homeless Children and Youth:
- Section 57.081, Florida Statutes - Costs; right to proceed where prepayment of costs and payment of filing fees waived
- Section 382.002, Florida Statutes - Definitions ("certified homeless youth")
- Section 382.025, Florida Statutes - Certified copies of vital records; confidentiality; research
- Section 414.0252(7), Florida Statutes – Definitions
- Section 420.621(5), Florida Statutes – Definitions
- Section 743.015, Florida Statutes - Disabilities of nonage; removal
- Section 743.067, Florida Statutes - Unaccompanied youths
- Section 1003.01, Florida Statutes - Definitions
- Section 1003.21, Florida Statutes – School attendance
- Section 1003.22, Florida Statutes – School-entry health examination; immunization against communicable diseases; exemptions; duties of Department of Health
- Section 1009.21, Florida Statutes - Determination of Resident Status for Tuition Purposes
- Section 1009.25, Florida Statutes - Fee Exemptions (for Homeless Individuals)
New & Hot Topics
- National Homeless Education Briefs on Disaster-Affected Students
- 100 Most Frequently Asked Questions on the Education Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations
- Homeless Education Data and Reports
- Homeless Students, PreK-12 (PDF) (Nighttime Residences)
- Homeless Unaccompanied Youth (PDF)
- Federal/State Project, Area and Model (PDF) (Title I, Part A - Homeless Set-aside)
- Homelessness Cause (PDF)
- Disaster Affected Student - Hurricane/Earthquake Affected Student (PDF)
- Technical Assistance Paper (TAP) for the Federal/State Project, Area and Model (PDF) (Title I, Part A - Homeless Set-aside) - Reporting Students in Title I, Part A Programs - Revisions in progress
- Florida Office of Homeless
- Florida Coalition for the Homeless
- Florida Supportive Housing Coalition
- Florida Housing Coalition, Inc.
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
- National Center for Homeless Education
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- SchoolHouse Connection
- U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
- School District Homeless Liaisons