Homeless Education


Homeless Liaison

Misti Smith, State and Federal Programs
101 Timberland Hwy W
Pineland, Texas 75968

State Coordinator

Texas Homeless Education Office

If you need further assistance, call the National Center for Homeless Education at the toll-free HelpLine number:  1-800-308-2145

General Information

Definition of homeless youth and children according to the McKinney-Vento Act (42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)):  

The term “homeless children and youth”— 

(A) means individuals who lack 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 a 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; 

(ii) 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 … 

(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)

Things You Should Know About Your Child's Educational Rights

Your child has a right to go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there.

  • You are not required to give a permanent address in order to enroll your child in school. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.

  • Lack of school records cannot prevent a homeless student from enrolling in a new school. Ask the school officials for help in getting your child's records from the last school your child attended.

  • If you are homeless, your child has the right to stay in the school he/she last attended or move to the school in the district/attendance zone where you are currently living. The decision should be made by parents and school administrators together in the best interest of the child. Whatever option is chosen, your child has the right to transportation that is equal to that of other students.

Questions For Parents To Ask At School

Children can be encouraged by your interest in their day at school, their homework, and the papers they bring home. They also benefit when you take time to ask questions or visit their school. Here are some questions for you to ask at your child's school.

  • Is transportation available for my child to stay in the same school?

  • If we have to change schools, can someone help us transfer records quickly?

  • Is there a preschool program?

  • Is there a summer school program?

  • Are any tutoring services available for my child?

  • If my child needs special education services, how long is the wait for testing?

  • Are there special classes to benefit a talent my child has?

  • Are there sports, music or other activities my child can be a part of?

  • Can my child receive free meals at school?

  • Are school supplies available?

  • Will my child be able to go on class field trips if we are unable to pay?

Information For School-Aged Youth or Parents

If you live in any of the following situations:

  • In a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground

  • On the street

  • In an abandoned building, trailer, or other inadequate accommodations (such as no electricity, gas, or running water), or

  • Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing

Then you have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Education Assistance Act.

You have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. You must be given access to the same public education provided to other students.

  • Continue in the school you attended before you became homeless or the school you last attended, if that is your choice and is feasible. The school district's local liaison for homeless education must assist you, if needed, and offer you the right to appeal a decision regarding your choice of school if it goes against your wishes.

  • Receive transportation to the school you attended before you became homeless or the school you last attended, if you request such transportation.

  • Attend a school and participate in school programs with students who are not homeless. Students cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.

  • Enroll in school without giving a permanent address. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.

  • Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrolling.

  • Enroll and attend classes in the school of your choice even while the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrollment.

  • Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other students served in these programs.

  • Receive transportation to school and to school programs.


When you move, you should do the following:

  • Contact the school district's local liaison for homeless education  for help in enrolling in a new school or arranging to continue in your former school. (Or, someone at a shelter, social services office, or the school can direct you to the person you need to contact.)

  • Tell your teachers anything that you think they need to know to help you in school.

  • Ask the local liaison for homeless education, the shelter provider, or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed.