Homeless Services Information

  • What does homeless mean?

    The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Subtitle B—Education for Homeless Children and Youth), reauthorized in January 2002, ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

    Key Provisions:

    • Every Local Educational Agency (LEA), otherwise known as school district, must designate an appropriate staff person as a liaison for students in homeless situations.
    • Liaisons must ensure that:
    • Children and youth in homeless situations are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.
    • Students enroll in, and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in, the schools of the LEA.
    • Families, children, and youth receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and pre-school programs administered by the LEA, and referrals to health, mental health, dental, and other appropriate services.
    • Parents or guardians are informed of educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.
    • Public notice of the educational rights of students in homeless situations is disseminated where children and youth receive services under the Act.
    • Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with the Enrollment Disputes section of the McKinney-Vento Act.
    • Parents and guardians and unaccompanied youth are fully informed of all transportation services, including to the school of origin, and are assisted in accessing transportation services.
    • Liaisons must assist children and youth who do not have immunizations or immunization or medical records to obtain necessary immunizations or immunization or medical records.
    • Liaisons must help unaccompanied youth choose and enroll in a school, after considering the youths’ wishes, and provide youth with notice of their right to appeal an enrollment decision that is not their choice.
    • Liaisons must ensure that unaccompanied youth are immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of disputes that might arise over school enrollment or placement.
    • Liaisons must collaborate and coordinate with State Coordinators for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth and community and school personnel responsible for the provision of education and related services to children and youth in homeless situations.
    • State coordinators and LEAs must inform school personnel, service providers, and advocates who work with families in homeless situations of the duties of the LEA homeless liaison.

    Liaisons are school district staff responsible for ensuring the identification, school enrollment, attendance, and opportunities for academic success of students in homeless situations. Some of these activities may be accomplished by the liaison himself or herself, while others are accomplished by coordinating the efforts of other staff. National evaluations have found that liaisons are a common denominator for successful district efforts to address homelessness. Therefore, the law now requires every district appoint a liaison for students who are homeless and specifies their legal responsibilities.

    You can contact the Sherman ISD Homeless Liaison, Karen Strickland at 903-891-6680 or send her an e-mail at kstrickland@shermanisd.net.

    More information can be found at www.utdanacenter.org/theo

    Community Services in Sherman for the homeless also include The North Texas Youth Connection, Robin Harbin, Residential Director, rharbin@ntxyouthconnection.org, 903-893-4717; and The Crisis Center, Shelli Shields Executive Director, www.graysoncrisiscenter.org, 903-893-3909.