McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act

Education rights of students who are homeless

Palos Heights School District 128 uses the definitions of homelessness and addresses the educational rights of students who are homeless as set forth in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Every District 128 student is entitled to a free and appropriate education.

Every school district is required to designate a person to serve as “Homeless Liaison.” The liaison can help with problems related to enrollment, request transportation on behalf of the children, help obtain immunizations or immunization records and birth certificates, and help mediate disputes with the school district. They are also there to help youth without parents or guardians. You may click here for additional information from the South Cook Regional Office of Education. Mr. Jason Smit is District 128’s identified homeless liaison.

If you think your family may qualify for homeless services, or your family is having financial difficulties, please contact Mr. Jason Smit at (708) 597-9040. Your information will always be treated confidentially.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures the educational rights and protections of homeless children and youth so that they may enroll in school, attend regularly, and be successful. The legislation requires the District 128 Homeless Education Liaison to assist children and unaccompanied youth in their efforts to attend school. The following apply to homeless children and youth:

  • The right to immediate enrollment, even if lacking paperwork normally required

  • Immediate enrollment in the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Program

  • The right to attend school in his/her school of origin (if requested by the parent and is feasible) or in the school in the attendance area where the family or youth is currently residing

  • The right to receive transportation to his/her school of origin, if requested by the parent

  • The right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates, including transportation and supplemental educational services

  • The right to attend school along with children not experiencing homelessness

  • Segregation based on a student's status as homeless is strictly prohibited.

  • Where appropriate, referrals to food bank and meal programs, local service organizations (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.), family shelters, medical services, and other support.

Who is homeless?

The term "homeless children and youth" as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act, means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes:

  • Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or a awaiting foster care placement

  • 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

  • Children and youths who are living in a cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus/train stations, or similar settings

  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described above.

Liaison information:

To obtain additional information regarding establishing homeless status and resources available, please contact:

Jason Smit, Assistant Superintendent at (708) 597-9040