McKinney-Vento Homeless Education

About the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1986 is a federal law that provides money for homeless shelter programs. "Homeless" children are also entitled to the protections of the McKinney-Vento Act.

The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:

  1. Children sharing housing due to economic hardship, loss of housing or similar reason;
  2. Children living in "motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations"
  3. Children living in "emergency or transitional shelters"
  4. Children whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc)
  5. Children living in "cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations…"
  6. Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations

The McKinney-Vento Act ensures homeless children transportation to and from school free of charge, allowing children to attend their school of origin (last school enrolled or the school they attended when they first become homeless) regardless of what district the family resides in. It requires schools to register homeless children even if they lack normally required documents, such as immunization records or proof of residence.

Washington State's Role

The McKinney-Vento Act is a conditional funding act—the federal government gives grants to states and, in return, the grantee states are bound by the terms of the act. If a state chooses not to accept federal funds for these purposes, it does not have to implement the act.

To implement the McKinney-Vento Act, the state must designate a statewide homeless coordinator to review policies and create procedures, including dispute resolution procedures, to ensure that homeless children are able to attend school.

School Districts' Responsibilities

Local school districts must appoint Liaison contacts 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.

Omak School Districts' Liaison:

Homeless Education Contact for Omak School District is Jordan Sackman . She can be reached at or by phone: 509-322-9361.

Important Links:

Community Resources & Agencies

Community Action Council                                                509-422-4041
Family Empowerment                                                       509-422-5414
Family Health Centers                                                       509-422-5700
Manfisher Ministries                                                           509-826-5699
Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare                                      509-826-6191
Okanogan Food Bank                                                        509-422-1717
Housing Authority                                                               509-422-3721
Omak Food Bank                                                               509-826-1717
The Support Center                                                           509-826-3221
Okanogan Homeless Liaison Julia O'Connor                   509-422-5414
State Homeless Liaison                                                    360-725-6505