Education for Homeless Youth
In compliance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as reauthorized in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Moon Area School District is responsible to identify all children within the district that may be experiencing homelessness.
The term "homeless children and youth" is defined as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes individuals:
- Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason;
- Living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, bus or train stations or similar settings;
- Living in substandard housing (no running water or working utilities, infestations, etc.).
Children who are experiencing homelessness may qualify for assistance with free school lunch, school supplies/materials, tutoring, and transportation so that they can remain in their school of origin throughout the duration of their homeless experience.
If you believe you know of families or individual students that may qualify for this service, please contact Michael Haslett at (412) 264-9440 x1115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rights for Homelessness
The right to stay in the same school even if the family moves if this is in the child's "best interest." Parents can choose to have their child: (a) stay in their current school; or (b) attend the school the child attended when they first became homeless when feasible and in the child's best interest.
The right to immediately enroll in the local school where the child is actually living - even without the required enrollment documents such as proof of residency, immunizations or birth certificates and even if there is a current dispute about whether a student is "homeless." Note: If the family is living in more than one place, this means the child can enroll where the family has a substantial connection, such as where the family spends the greatest percentage of its time or conducts its activities of daily living, such as a day shelter.
The right to free and appropriate transportation to and from their school of choice - even if the school does not otherwise provide transportation to other students to the child's school of choice. The school the child attends is responsible for arranging the transportation, but can share the cost with the district where the child lives, equally, or by agreement.
The right to dispute resolution and immediate enrollment pending final resolution of any dispute. Parents have the right to prompt resolution of any disputes. They also have the right to a written explanation of a school's decision to deny enrollment with notice of the right to appeal and an explanation of the process. Schools must refer parents to the local homeless education liaison, sometimes called "McKinney-Vento Liaison" who is charged with helping the parent resolve disputes and must advise parents of the right to seek help from the Regional or Site Coordinator or to file a formal complaint with the State Homeless Children's Initiative State Coordinator, or in court.
The right to special education services or other reasonable accommodations for a child with a disability. Children with disabilities, including children experiencing homelessness, have the right to be identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate special education services or reasonable accommodations if needed, even if they change school districts. Young children from birth through school-age who may have developmental delays and other disabilities also have the right to be identified and evaluated and to access early intervention services to meet their developmental needs.
Where to go to get help in Western Pennsylvania:
Regional Coordinator: (Allegheny County) (412) 394-5894
Assistant Regional Coordinator: (Westmoreland County) - (724) 219-2309
Assistant Regional Coordinator (Washington, Fayette and Greene): (724) 938-0820 ext. 21
Pennsylvania Homeless Children Initiative
Eight Homeless Children's Initiative Regional Sites are in operation, with the State Coordinator located in Harrisburg. All of these individuals would be happy to assist with any questions you may have or to help with a specific situation to help students enroll in school, access the full range of programs or file a complaint when things are not working.
The State Coordinator
Can be reached at: (717) 772-2813
The Pennsylvania Homeless Children's Initiative (PAHCI) Directory maintains a webpage. There are two directories on this webpage that can assist you in ensuring homeless students receive the services they require. https://homeless.center-school.org/
Statewide Directory: Pennsylvania School District Liaisons for Homeless Students.
The Statewide Directory: Pennsylvania School District Liaisons for Homeless Students contains general information regarding the primary responsibilities of a school district homeless liaison, and the contact information for each school district (and charter school) within Pennsylvania, organized by county. There· are several options to enable you to locate a homeless liaison for your area - you can search for the appropriate liaison by zip code, by county, by region or by city. You can also view the entire liaison listing and/or print the document. https://directory.center-school.org/homeless/contacts/
Pennsylvania Shelter Directory: Homeless Families, Domestic Violence and Runaway Youth:
The Pennsylvania Shelter Directory: Homeless Families, Domestic Violence and Runaway Youth contains a listing of emergency shelters for homeless families, organized by county. This listing is not an all-inclusive directory of all shelters in Pennsylvania - the shelters listed here accept homeless families and/or homeless youth (such as runaways). There are no shelters listed here that serve homeless individuals solely. There are several options to enable you to locate a shelter in your area - you· can search for the available shelter/s in your area by zip code, by county, by region, or by city. You can also view the entire shelter listing and/or print the document. https://directory.center-school.org/homeless/?page=shelter
If you don't know where to turn for help, you can start by looking at these directories to find district liaisons and shelter providers who might be able to help you or lead you to others who can. If you don't have access to a computer, you can always call the State or Regional Coordinator and they will tell you who is responsible for helping you in your area.
More Pennsylvania Resources:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Homeless
- Pennsylvania's Homeless Children's Initiative (PAHCI)
- SPAC - PA State Parent Advisory Council on Title I
- Education Law Center
- Homeless Children's Education Fund