Students experiencing homelessness have the same rights to a free appropriate public education as their fellow classmates. They’re protected under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Protection Act, which helps ensure they receive a high-quality education.
Schools are also required to have, by law, a staff member to act as a liaison for students experiencing homelessness. These liaisons work with students to connect them to valuable resources, identify students in homeless situations, enroll them in school, and give them “full and equal opportunity to succeed.”
To help with that, here’s a roundup of the resources we find most helpful for both homeless liaisons and students experiencing homelessness:
1. Aunt Bertha
Aunt Bertha / Findhelp.org allows you to search for free or reduced cost services like food pantry, clothes closet, housing, and medical care in your area. It’s a great way to connect families and students to housing, food, clothes, and medical care they may lack.
2. 2-1-1 Texas
Texas has a free service which can help connect you to appropriate social service agencies and provide their contact information. It is supported by the state’s Health and Human Service Commission’s Texas Information and Referral Network.
This service can be accessed via its web site (searchable by service type and location) or by phone (dial 2-1-1).
3. Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth Support Center
The Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth Support Center, or TEHCY, maintains a list of resources available state-wide to students experiencing homelessness. You can access their website for resources and support, or call their toll-free number at 1-800-445-3142
LifeWorks is a nonprofit agency in Austin which helps homeless and runaway youth. This organization supports a wide variety of services including an emergency shelter.
5. Caritas of Austin
Caritas of Austin offers short-term assistance such as meals, groceries, emergency rental and utility assistance to families in the Austin area, as well as education and job-placement classes.
6. McKinney-Vento Posters
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act can be confusing for some parents and school-aged youth to understand. The Texas Education Agency has created a series of posters both in Spanish and English for parents and youth to download to learn more about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
- McKinney-Vento Posters for Parents English Version
- McKinney-Vento Posters for Parents Spanish Version
- McKinney-Vento Posters for Youth English Version
- McKinney-Vento Posters for Youth Spanish Version
7. Texas Network of Youth Services
The Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) is an organization of 60 nonprofit youth service agencies and private individuals who share the common goal of creating better options and improving available services for youth and families in crisis. TNOYS provides sound leadership, high-quality training, and technical assistance, timely information, and critical support services that help professionals and agencies keep abreast of developments in a rapidly changing environment.
8. Texas Homeless Network
Texas Homeless Network (THN) is a non-profit membership-based organization helping communities strategically plan to prevent and end homelessness. THN works to end homelessness in Texas by collaborating with all communities, large and small, across the state to build systems to achieve this goal.
9. National Center for Homeless Education
NCHE operates the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program.
10. Homeless Liaison Toolkit
NCHE’s Homeless Liaison Toolkit is a comprehensive resource that will assist both new and veteran local liaisons in carrying out their responsibilities. Updated to reflect the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2020 edition of the Homeless Liaison Toolkit includes requirements of the law, good practices, sample forms, and links to resources. Sixteen chapters on topics essential to implementing the McKinney-Vento Act synthesize in an easy-to-read format the essentials that local liaisons must know in order to carry out their responsibilities.
11. National Association for theEducation of Homeless Children and Youth
The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) is a national membership association dedicated to educational equity and excellence for children and youth experiencing homelessness. NAEHCY’s vision is that every child and youth experiencing homelessness is successful in school, from early childhood through higher education.
12. SchoolHouse connection
SchoolHouse Connection is a national non-profit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. We provide strategic advocacy and practical assistance in partnership with early childhood programs, schools, institutions of higher education, service providers, families, and youth. We believe education is the only permanent solution to homelessness. Our vision is that children and youth experiencing homelessness have full access to quality learning, birth through higher education, so they will never be homeless as adults, and the next generation will never be homeless.
13. Provisional Immunization Flowchart
Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Unit Provisional Enrollment for Students (Non-Higher Education; Non-Veterinary Students) Texas Department of State Health Services Stock No. E11-13255 Immunization Unit Rev. 02/2018 The following charts are intended to aid school nurses, office staff, private practitioners, and the general public in understanding the eligibility of students enrolling in Texas schools in accordance with Title 25, Rules §97.66 and §97.69 of the Texas Administrative Code. Please consult §97.65 and §97.68 of the Texas Administrative Code for guidance on verification of immunity/history of illness and acceptable evidence of vaccination(s).
Getting more support with students experiencing homelessness
Our homeless education specialists offer guidance and support to school districts and open charter schools and help them address their obligation to serve homeless students.