McKinney-Vento Homeless Services

The mission of Grand Rapids Public Schools Homeless Liaison is to assist GRPS scholar experiencing homelessness through direct support and advocacy. The primary objective is to remove educational barriers to help ensure scholars engage successfully in school and school related activities, as well as eliminate any barriers that will hinder social, emotional, and academic growth.

Enrollment opens for the 2023-2024 school year on July 1, 2023. 

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The following is the policy of the Congress:

  1. Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.
  2. In any State where compulsory residency requirements or other requirements, in laws, regulations, practices, or policies, may act as a barrier to the identification of, or the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of, homeless children and youths, the State educational agency and local educational agencies in the State will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.
  3. Homelessness is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.
  4. Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held.

Definition of Homeless (McKinney-Vento) Children who lack a fixed regular, and adequate night-time residence:

Scholars and families may qualify if they are living in the following situations.

  • Shelter or Transitional Housing Program
  • Motel/Hotel
  • Doubled up with a friend or relative due to loss of housing and economic hardship.
  • Unsheltered – parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings.
  • Unaccompanied youth not in the physical custody or presence of a parent or legal guardian and living in one of the above situations.


Know Your Rights

  • Students experiencing homelessness should be immediately enrolled even if they lack required documents (birth certificate, proof of residence, immunization records, etc.)
  • Students may either continue in their school of origin (includes feeder pattern schools) or enroll in the district where they are living
  • Transportation to school of origin is required if the student would face a barrier to attendance without it
  • Provide uniforms / school clothes, school supplies, and hygiene items to students who need them
  • Children and youth experiencing homelessness can remain in their school of origin for the duration of homelessness and until the end of an academic year in which they obtain permanent housing, if it is in their best interest.
  • McKinney-Vento advocates must make best interest determinations that presume that staying in the school of origin is in the best interest of the child or youth; consider specific student-centered factors; prioritize the wishes of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth; and include a written explanation and right to appeal if the LEA determines that school stability is not in the best interest of the child or youth.


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Homeless Services
Call 616-819-2519