By law, all children in Massachusetts, including homeless children, have the right to free public education. Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, homeless children are given special protection including the right to continue to attend their previous school district even if they no longer live in the district, free transportation to school whether they live within or outside of the district and enrollment in school even if they don’t have all required documentation. Homeless children also do not have to apply for free school meals as this can be authorized by homeless shelter directors or education liaisons.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines homeless children and youth as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence” (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)). This includes children/youths who are sharing housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship, living in motels/hotels/campgrounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations, living in emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in hospitals. It also includes children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings such as those who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings (McKinney-Vento Act sec. 725(2); 42 U.S.C. 11435(2)).
Any questions or concerns regarding homeless services should be forwarded to Rebecca Lynch, M.Ed., Director of Student Support Services. Ms. Lynch can be reached at (413) 323-0423 x112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Homeless Services please click the link below.