Students Experiencing Housing Instability

The McKinney-Vento Act was enacted to address the numerous barriers young people struggling with housing insecurity face in obtaining a free, appropriate public education.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless [Education] Assistance Act is a federal law ensuring immediate enrollment and educational stability for students experiencing homelessness. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states to support district programs serving children, youth & families without their own permanent address. Who:  Any student who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate home. Any displaced child or youth who fits any of the below descriptions has educational rights under the McKinney-Vento Act. -Solo, independent and living with someone else who is not their parent/ legal guardian,  -Family moved in with another family due to an economic hardship (not having enough money), the lack of affordable housing and/or fleeing a domestic, family crisis. -In a shelter, motel/hotel, -Inadequate (for example, mold, non-working bathroom, kitchen, broken window, inconsistent electricity, water, heat, etc.) trailer or house, outside, car, camper, abandoned building, barn, or places not designed for human habitation, -Living in a shelter or in a transitional housing program, -Living in any other houseless situation. 

Students Rights

  • IMMEDIATE ENROLLMENT when a youth is unaccompanied, independent of parents or legal guardians
  • Continued attendance in school of origin, or the school they last attended while housed
  • Transportation to the school of origin (if it’s a barrier) through school bus, district vehicle, public transportation, taxi or provision of fuel assistance
  • All general school fees waived
  • Free meals; do not need to fill out Free/Reduced lunch form,
  • High school counselor career and college preparation navigation,
  • Independent Status on FAFSA, meaning they do not need to file their parents/legal guardians tax information, which increases their free grant money.

Purpose The purpose of the McKinney-Vento project is to ensure educational access, school stability, as well as academic and social success for students experiencing housing insecurity throughout communities located in Colorado.
Many students in grades pre K-high school/GED receive services and support through school districts’ McKinney-Vento programs. On-site consultation with district staff, and students, community resource development and delivery, and solution-focused problem solving with students/families as they confront educational, and social barriers and the personal struggle with houselessness.

Oak Tree Youth Resources operates the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) – Basic Center Program (BCP) for 12-17 year old youth. With our state partners at the Colorado Rural Collaborative, we are able to provide connection and help find support with community agencies and programs, such as School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP), La Plata Youth Services, The Pinon Project (Montezuma County), area school districts, colleges and universities, non-profits, governmental, faith-based organizations, and more to address the unique needs of McKinney-Vento students.

The outcomes of our McKinney-Vento project are to promote and increase the enrollment and retention of students in school leading to academic and social success, graduation, and college and career readiness.

Oak Tree Youth Resources works with Durango School District 9R, Bayfield, Ignacio, and Montezuma Counties with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act aiding unsheltered youth. -Contact your school liaison listed below, school counselor or call/text Oak Tree Youth Resources for more information. 970-335-9667

McKinney-Vento Durango District 9R Liaison Vanessa Giddings 970-247-5411 ext 1457

McKinney-Vento Colorado Charter School Institute-Animas High School/Mountain Middle School in Durango Liaison Betsy Jane Basch, Psy.D. | Mental Health Programs Specialist O: (303) 866-3299 C: (303) 532-7395

McKinney-Vento Bayfield Liaison Leon Hanhardt 970-884-2496

McKinney-Vento Ignacio Liaison Norma Conley 970-563-0500 ext 2239

McKinney-Vento Montezuma County Liaison Trina Lee 970-565-8282

Frequently Asked Questions on the Educational Rights of Homeless Children and Youth in Homeless Situations :

​For information about eligibility for services through McKinney-Vento, visit the Colorado Department of Education’s website.

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