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Tales from the Field: Do you have a Homeless Policy?

Updated: May 1, 2023

The tale:

McKinney-Vento liaisons from across the state call the NYS-TEACHS helpline when they realize

that their LEA does not have a formal homeless policy. They may discover that the district does

not have a written policy when:

  • a family decides to dispute a district’s McKinney-Vento determination,

  • a problem emerges, such as when two LEAs disagree on which LEA a student in temporary housing should attend, or

  • when the LEA is identified for an NYSED monitoring visit.


Questions:

  1. Is every LEA in New York required to have a homeless policy?

  2. What resources are available to help districts create a homeless policy?


Resources to answer these questions:

  1. NYSED memo on Updated Sample LEA Policy on the Education of Students in Temporary Housing (March 2018)

  2. Sample Local Educational Agency (“LEA”) Policy on the Education of Students in Temporary Housing

Answers:


1. Is every LEA in New York required to have a homeless policy?

Per a New York State Education Department (NYSED) 2018 memo (Resource 1 above),

“NYSED must ensure that students experiencing homelessness have access to the same free

appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as is available to their

permanently housed peers. Further, the Department must ensure that local educational

agencies (LEAs), which include school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, review and revise

policies to improve the identification, enrollment, attendance, and success in school of students

in temporary housing.”


Specifically, “LEAs are required to review policies and revise those that create barriers to the

McKinney-Vento rights of students in temporary housing (see 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(I) and

Education Law § 3209(6)(b)). NYSED periodically monitors all LEAs in New York State and may

review your LEA’s policies pertaining to students in temporary housing. We encourage you to

ensure that your written policies are in full compliance with updated state and federal laws.”

2. What resources are available to help districts create a homeless policy?

Feel free to contact the NYS-TEACHS helpline at 800-388-2014 if you have questions!

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