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Planning Guide for Local Educational Agency (LEA) Services to Children and Youth in Homeless Situations


New Hampshire Department of Education Homeless Education Office

Planning Guide for Local Educational Agency (LEA)
Services to Children and Youth in Homeless Situations

General Information

The information presented in this planning information is intended to serve as a guide for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in formulating a plan to serve children and youth who are experiencing homelessness. Services to homeless children and youths are required by LEAs in the No Child Left Behind Act, and are primarily found under the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act of 2001. (Title X, Part C No Child Left Behind Act) and under Title I Part A. The minimum requirements for services to homeless children and youths from both sections of the law are included in this guide. LEAs may expand services outlined here or they may develop their own plan to use in place of these guidelines as long as none of the outlined required services to children and youth experiencing homelessness are overlooked.

For assistance with any of the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, definitions contained herein, or with specific implementation strategies, please contact the New Hampshire Homeless Education Office at Lynda.ThistleElliott@doe.nh.gov , (voice) 271-3840 or (fax) 271-2760.

The NH Department of Education Web site contains helpful information and additional resources. A listing of fact sheets, the complete McKinney-Vento Act, summary guidelines, statistics, and other related information on providing education to homeless children and youths may be found at the National Law Center On Homelessness and Poverty www.nlchp.org.

Children and youth in many different living situations are considered homeless under Federal law. Homelessness is a lack of permanent housing resulting from extreme poverty or from the lack of a safe and stable living arrangement. Children and youth in homeless situations often do not fit society's stereotypical images of homelessness. Therefore, educators may not realize the breadth of students who are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act, and as such, qualify for its protections and services. The McKinney-Vento Act contains a specific definition of homelessness that includes a broad array of inadequate living situations.

Definition of Homelessness (McKinney-Vento Act Sec. 725(2); 42 U.S.C. 11435(2))

The term "homeless children and youths"

(A) means individuals who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.; and

(B) includes

i. 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 are awaiting foster placement;

ii. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

iii. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

iv. migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

Educational Stability

Federal law requires districts to provide educational stability for homeless students. Changing schools greatly impedes student's academic and social growth. Highly mobile students, including students who are homeless, have been found to have lower test scores and overall academic performance than peers who do not change schools. The educational stability resulting from implementation of these provisions will enhance student's academic and social growth while permitting schools to benefit from the increased test scores and achievement found from student continuity.

Title I targets those students most at risk of failing in school. Children and youth in homeless situations qualify for Title I services by virtue of their homelessness and benefit from participation in Title I services and programs. However, additional Title I funds may be needed to address specific needs of children who are homeless. For example, an excellent reading program implemented in a Schoolwide school or Targeted Assistance school will not be effective for children and youth who need additional help to participate fully in the program or who may attend non-Title I schools in the district. An appropriate use of Title I funds would be for any educational support to increase students experiencing homelessness opportunities for academic success.

Title I, Part A, Set-Asides

Set-aside funds support children and youth experiencing homelessness in non-Title I schools and those in participating schools who need additional support outside of school, including students living in shelters, motels, transitional living situations, and other locations. Title IA funds may be used for more than just services at non-Title IA funded schools. Title IA could be the means by which a district funds a portion of the required LEA Homeless Liaison position. The Liaison provides outreach to non-enrolled students and their families, facilitates enrollment for students, provides training to district staff, maintains contact with other service providers, and other Title I allowable activities, as well as services to non-Title I schools. Title IA funds may be used to send the Liaison to conferences or seminars on homelessness, for tutors, after-school programs, summer school, and other similar instructional programs. Title IA funds set-aside for homeless students are not restricted to Title I schools only.

The amount of funds to be set-aside by an LEA, and the procedure used to calculate this amount, may be determined by the LEA. A review of the New Hampshire State Homeless Education Plan, students' needs, consultation with homeless service providers, local homeless education liaison, and the estimated number of homeless students in the district will provide guidance for the LEA's determination of the Title I, Part A set-aside amount.

The following checklist will help LEAs develop their Homeless Education Plan and coordinate services with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act of 2001. The development of an LEA Homeless Education Plan (or Policy) is required under the McKinney-Vento Act. Items appearing in " bold italics " are identified in the law as duties of the LEA homeless liaison. Only LEAs that have fulfilled (or submitted a completion date for fulfillment) their requirements under McKinney-Vento will be considered for McKinney-Vento sub-grant funding. If an item on the checklist is not yet completed, provide a completion date for that item.


New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711