The McKinney Vento Homeless Act: Serving PYLUSD Homeless Students

“The PYLUSD has approximately 2500 homeless students who are living in transitional situations, such as doubled and tripled up in an apartment or house made for one family.  We provided many of these students with backpacks, school supplies, school uniforms, food, blankets and other necessities,” stated Jon Matson, the PYLUSD homeless liaison.

The McKinney Vento Homeless Assistant Act is a US federal law that provides federal money for the homeless shelter program such as giving the homeless an education and also food. The federal law was passed by Ronald Reagan in July 22, 1987, according to education.wm.edu.

“We also ensure that their place at their school of origin is protected for them, and if they have to move due to economic circumstances, that they can stay at their school site,” stated Matson.

According to PYLUSD, the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act applies to any student who lacks a regular, fixed and adequate nighttime residence (sub standard housing), sharing houses with others due to economic struggles, is living in a shelter, hotel, or motel, is living in a public place not designed for sleeping such as car or parks, is a unaccompanied youth, is a child or youth awaiting foster care placement,.

“The purpose of the program is to (1) facilitate the enrollment, attendance, and success in school of homeless children and youth; and (2) ensure homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free, appropriate, public education as provided to all other students. Services provided can not replace the regular academic program and must be designed to expand upon or improve services that are part of the school’s regular academic program,” according to cde.ca.gov.

If someone ever moves, they should tell their child’s teacher and principal that the child is moving and should give them the new address. They should also let the school officials know if they want their child to stay in his/ her school of origin while the family is getting stabilized. The child’s guardian should also ask for a copy of the schools records, including immunizations, stated the PYLUSD.

“If their economic situation impairs their education in any way, then I step in to remedy the situation, providing help and support where I can.  Many organizations and individuals help the McKinney Vento program in Placentia and Yorba Linda,”  Matson explained.

“We have churches, school groups, scouting organizations, and individuals who offer financial and other assistance to our program.  We are always looking for people who want to help fund our program with donations and other gifts, added Matson.

Families should also keep a copy a copy of birth certificates and school records accessible, safeguard all health and immunization records, or give a copy to a relative for safeguarding. If the child’s family is expecting homelessness, they need to know that children still have a right to attend school; they don’t need a permanent address to enroll the child in school, according to the PYLUSD.

To find out more information or to donate, contact Mr. Jon Matson jmatson@ pylusd.org.