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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

McKinney-Vento Act: Homeless Education Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education program under Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for LEAs to consider as they develop their programs to support Homeless Youths. For more information, we invite you to review the Federal Non-Regulatory Guidance for the Education of Homeless Children and Youths Program and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, Reauthorized by Title IX, Part A (full text).

McKinney-Vento Liaisons

Each LEA is required to designate a McKinney-Vento Liaison. The local liaison serves as one of the primary contacts between homeless families and school staff, district personnel, shelter workers, and other service providers. Every LEA is required to designate a local liaison. (see Section 16 722(g)(1)(J)(ii)). The liaison coordinates services to ensure that homeless children and youths enroll in school and have the opportunity to succeed academically.

Liaisons should ensure that their contact information is included and up-to-date on the State’s The Homeless Contact List. This ensures liaisons are included in important communications and that parents and caregivers have access to liaisons.

The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) Program has several briefs available to support Liaisons.

For new Liaisons: Local Homeless Education Liaisons: Important Information for New Local Liaisons

For experienced Liaisons: Local Homeless Education Liaisons: Understanding Their Role

The Required Reserve within Title I, Part A

All LEAs are required to reserve funds from their Title I, Part A allocations for services to homeless children and youths. Under section 1112(b)(6) of the ESEA, an LEA must describe in its Title I, Part A plan the services it will provide homeless children and youths, including services provided with funds reserved under section 1113(c)(3)(A) of the ESEA, to support the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youths.

An LEA’s Title I, Part A application should also include a description of the method used for determining the amount reserved, whether by a needs assessment or some other method (e.g., past homeless student enrollment and support service cost data), and how the liaison was consulted or involved in determining the reserve.

When calculating the required reserve, NYSED suggests LEAs consider the following formulas:

  • To determine the Best Practice Reserve Amount: (Per Pupil Amount x Homeless Student Count) = reserve total
  • To determine the Minimum Recommended Reserve Amount: (Student Count x $100) = reserve total

Guidance on Allowable and Unallowable Costs for McKinney Vento Funds

Title I, Part A funds may be used to provide a wide variety of services to homeless students. This includes providing services to assist homeless students in meeting the State’s challenging academic standards and providing services that may not ordinarily be provided to other Title I students. More information on allowable uses of funds can be accessed at the NYSED Guidance on Allowable and Unallowable Costs for McKinney Vento.

Please note: Two principles govern the use of Title I, Part A funds to provide services to homeless students.

  1. The services must be reasonable and necessary to assist homeless students to take advantage of educational opportunities.
  1. Title I, Part A funds must be used only as a last resort when funds or services are not available from other public or private sources, such as public health clinics, or local discretionary funds (sometimes provided by the PTA) used to provide similar services for economically disadvantaged students.

McKinney-Vento Data: Homeless Student Number

The McKinney-Vento Act requires that the number of children and youths identified as homeless in each State be posted annually on the State’s website (Section 722(f)(1)(A)). The Department’s New York Technical Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) posts the latest homeless student data. LEAs should use this data to identify areas for improvement related to identifying and educating homeless children and youths, and for planning program activities.


The New York State Technical Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS) provides school districts, social service providers, and other professionals with free trainings, webinars and resources about the educational rights of children and youths experiencing homelessness on their NYS-TEACHS website.

Additional Guidance from the New York State Education Department can be found here:

ESSA Guidance for Schools and Districts 

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education


For additional assistance regarding McKinney-Vento, districts may contact the Office of ESSA-Funded Programs
at or (518) 473-0295.