The Homeless Outreach Promoting Education program is a partnership between Vancouver Public Schools and local shelters in the community to help meet the needs of homeless families with school-aged children.
To maintain consistency of the child’s education while in transition.
To provide the same educational opportunities for homeless students as every other child.
To strengthen the connection between families and schools to ensure the student’s educational needs are being met.
Meeting with families to assist with school registration.
Acting as a liaison between schools, shelters, parents and students.
Arranging transportation for students to continue attending the same school even if they move out of school boundaries.
Providing an after-school education program at a local shelter.
Providing tutoring in schools.
Providing school supplies and emergency clothing needs.
Assisting families in finding resources in the community.
Every school in the district provided services to children identified as homeless at some point during the school year.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1986 is a federal law that provides money for homeless shelter programs. Homeless children also are entitled to the protections of the McKinney-Vento Act.
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 sharing housing due to economic hardship or loss of housing
Children living in “motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations”
Children living in “emergency or transitional shelters”
Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g., park benches, etc.)
Children living in “cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations”
The McKinney-Vento Act ensures homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge, allowing children to attend their school of origin (last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first become homeless) regardless of what district the family resides in. It requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.
Homeless families’ rights
You have the right to register your child for school even if you do not have your full documentation such as immunization records, utility bill, birth certificate, etc.
Once registered, your child can begin attending school within one or two days.
Your child has the right to stay in the same school even if you move, if it is feasible and in the best interests of him or her.
Your child will be provided with school transportation with school buses, city bus passes or gas vouchers.
Your children are entitled to free lunch and breakfast at school without the need to fill out the form.
Your child must not be isolated or stigmatized.
The above services will continue until the end of the school year in which homelessness ends for your family.