Homeless Family Services

Homeless Family Services/McKinney-Vento Act

Philomath School District is committed to providing high-quality instructional services to all students, including students experiencing homelessness. National statistics show that extreme poverty, combined with high mobility and the loss of housing, places students at greater risk for educational challenges. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal statute that provides legal protections to homeless youth and requires school districts to meet the educational, social, and health needs of homeless children and youth.

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." 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 a 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 also ensures homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge, allowing them to attend their school of origin (the last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first became homeless), regardless of what district the family resides in. It further requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence. The Act also requires local school districts to appoint a Local Homeless Education Liaison to ensure that school staff are aware of these rights, to provide public notice to homeless families (at shelters and at school), and to facilitate access to school and transportation services.

Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to:
  • Receive free, appropriate public education.
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers the needed documents.
  • Enroll in the local attendance area school or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is the parent's, guardian's, or unaccompanied youth's preference, if that is feasible. If the school district believes the school selected is not in the student's best interest, then the district must provide the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of its position and inform him or her of the right to appeal its decision.
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the student's need.

If you or your child is experiencing homelessness, please contact your school counselor or the Philomath Homeless Education Liaison, Mike Panico.  

For more information, please visit the National Center for Homeless Education:

National Center for Homeless Education 

Contact Information:

Mike Panico

Mike Panico

Homeless Services Coordinator