What is McKinney Vento?

The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that addresses the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The law defines homeless to include the following temporary living situations due to hardship. Examples include:

  • Living with a friend, relative or other person
  • Hotel or motel
  • Shelter or transitional housing
  • Car, park or other public place
  • Campground or inadequate home
  • Youth living on their own, runaway youth or youth kicked out

The McKinney-Vento Act addresses educational challenges created by homelessness and guarantees students the right to enroll, attend, and succeed in school. The law places the responsibility for guaranteeing the rights of students experiencing homelessness on states and school districts (NCHE, 2014).

As a requirement of the federal law, all public school districts in the United States must appoint a liaison that will ensure compliance with the federal law. In S. Joseph County, the McKinney-Vento program includes a Coordinator and Local School District Liaisons.

The federal legislation is also included in local school system’s school board policies.

Students experiencing homelessness may change schools frequently. Learning is impacted as students must adjust to new environments, new curricula, and new teachers and classmates, while still learning the same information other students are expected to master. The loss of a home an be traumatic, leaving children and youth with tumultuous feelings that can impact their social and intellectual well-being. Limited access to food, medical care and basic school supplies can also impact performance in the classroom (NCHE, 2014).

When working with families in transition, the term ‘homeless” can be received as a negative term. In an effort to be more sensitive to the trauma and crisis involved in being displaced, school districts are using the term ‘in transition’ when speaking to or about families that meet eligibility requirements for McKinney-Vento. The word ‘homeless’ may be used throughout this site when quoting from materials that were created and distributed prior to the new terminology.

School or District Contact Name
Burr Oak Kathy Smith
Centreville Barb Lester
Colon Savannah Bohanon
Colon Colleen Saxman
Constantine Shad Fish
Mendon Taylor Griffith
Nottawa Jerome Wolff
Sturgis Nicole Gittinger
Three Rivers Melissa Frye
White Pigeon Kate Johnson
ISD: Birth to age 3 Amy Brauer
ISD: Regional Grant Coordinator Julie Evans
ISD: Regional Grant Coordinator Amanda Miller