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Education for Homeless Children and Youth

Vermont's Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program ensures that students experiencing homelessness have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education provided to other Vermont children, with the opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards. The EHCY program is authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, and seeks to identify and address the challenges that children and youth experiencing homelessness may face in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.  

McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless [42 U.S.C. §11434(a)(2)]

The term “homeless children and youth” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes children and youths who:

  • Share the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • Live in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Are abandoned in hospitals
  • Have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not normally used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • Are migratory and qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described in the above situations

Rights of Eligible Children and Youth

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act guarantees educational rights and supports for students experiencing homelessness. In general, McKinney-Vento eligible students have a right to:

  • Equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including public preschool education, as is provided to other children and youth [42 U.S.C. §11431(1)
  • Immediate enrollment, even when records normally required for enrollment are not present [42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(C)]
  • Remain in the school of origin, if it is in the student’s best interest, in order to maintain educational stability [42 U.S.C. §11432 (g)(3)(A)]
  • Access all educational and related services for which they are eligible [42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(6)(A)(iii)], including Title I services and free school meals
  • Full participation in school, which may include participation in extracurricular activities [42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(F)(iii)]
  • Transportation, provided by the LEA, to and from the school of origin [42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(1)(J)(iii)]

Vermont EHCY Program Data

bar graph: see data table children experiencing homelessness enrolled in Vermont public schools

Data Table: Children Experiencing Homelessness Enrolled in Vermont Public Schools

School Year Enrolled Homeless Children/Youth
2017 - 2018 722
2018 - 2019 1,008
2019 - 2020 883
2020-2021 1,006
2021-2022 1,312
2022-2023 1,620

Resources and Technical Assistance

National Resources

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE): NCHE provides research, data, and technical assistance to support educators and service providers in addressing the educational needs of children experiencing homelessness.

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY): NAEHCY provides technical assistance and best-practice implementation strategies to support educators, administrators, service providers, parents and youth.

SchoolHouse Connection Q&A: SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit organization that engages in policy advocacy and provides technical assistance and resources to educators, service providers, families, and youth. Above is the link to the searchable FAQ featuring actual questions from educators, service providers, and the public about the education of students experiencing homelessness. 

Training Materials

Guidance and Technical Assistance

NCHE briefs: NCHE offers guidance on eligibility, enrollment, unaccompanied youth and many other topics affecting homeless students.

Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Non-Regulatory Guidance: The U.S. Department of Education has provided non-regulatory guidance in order to assist the State and LEAs in meeting obligations under the McKinney-Vento Act.

NCHE Homeless Liaison Toolkit: A toolkit for homeless liaisons designed to assist liaison’s in carrying out their responsibilities.

Memo: Immediate Enrollment of McKinney-Vento Eligible Students: This memo provides information on the definition of “homeless” under the McKinney-Vento Act, as well as the requirements for immediate enrollment for students whose living situations meet this definition.

Vermont Resources

Frequently Requested Resources


Email Katy Preston, State Coordinator for Homeless Education, or call (802) 828-1468