Students Experiencing Homelessness (McKinney-Vento)

Santa Barbara Unified School District believes that the identification of students experiencing homelessness is critical to improving the educational outcomes of such students and ensuring that students experiencing homelessness have access to the same free and appropriate public education provided to other students within the district. The district shall provide students experiencing homelessness with access to education and other services necessary for such students to meet the same challenging academic standards as other students.

Students experiencing homelessness shall not be segregated into a separate school or program based on their status as homeless and shall not be stigmatized in any way. However, the Superintendent or designee may separate students experiencing homelessness on school grounds as necessary for short periods of time for health and safety emergencies or to provide temporary, special, and supplementary services to meet their unique needs.  (42 USC 11432, 11433)

The McKinney-Vento Definition of Homelessness

Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (per Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) defines homeless as follows:

The term “homeless children and youths”–

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and

(B) includes–

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;* 

(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C)); 

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and 

(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

*Per Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act, “awaiting foster care placement” was removed from the definition of homeless on December 10, 2016; the only exception to his removal is that “covered states” have until December 10, 2017 to remove “awaiting foster care placement” from their definition of homeless.

McKinney-Vento Family Rights

  • Attend the last school of enrollment (school of origin), if feasible, or attend the school in the area where the family is temporarily residing
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin if you request it.
  • If the family gains permanent housing, the student can remain at the current school for the duration of that academic year. 
  • Schools must immediately enroll homeless students, regardless of the lack of: academic records, proof of residence; immunization records, etc.  The enrolling school shall immediately contact the last school of attendance to obtain missing records.
  • May be exempt from having to meet district graduation requirements and instead, can earn a diploma by meeting California state minimum graduation requirements (130)
  • Participate fully in all school activities and programs for which he/she is eligible.
Contact Information for  Homeless Youth

Forms and Resources

Families Rights and District Responsibilities    English Spanish

Housing Questionnaire (Download form to complete)    English Spanish 

McKinney-Vento Eligibility Flowchart

Enrolling Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness in School English

Graduation Requirements for Student Experiencing Homelessness  English

Santa Barbara County Education Transitional Youth Services