The Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program is authorized under Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, most recently re-authorized in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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Definition of a Homeless Child/Youth

  • A homeless child or youth ages 3-21;
  • A child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes the following:
    • A child who is sharing the housing of others (includes doubled-up families) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital
    • A child who has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for humans beings
    • A child who is living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting; or
    • A migratory child/youth who qualifies as homeless because of the living circumstances described above
      • Includes youth who have runaway or youth being forced to leave home.
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Educational Rights of Homeless Children and Youth

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, children in homeless situations have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there;
  • Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest; the school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed, or the school in which the child was last enrolled;
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin;
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or
  • immunization/medical records;
  • Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school arranges for transfer of records;
  • Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students including transportation and supplemental educational services;
  • Have access to free school meals/lunch programs;
  • Attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; segregation based on a student’s status as homeless is prohibited
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District Homeless Liaisons

Homeless Education Liaisons - Each public school district is required to appoint an appropriate staff person to serve in the role of Homeless Education Liaison.

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Legislation & Guidance

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McKinney-Vento Subgrants

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001 provides competitive subgrants to districts to expand services to homeless children, to create greater awareness and sensitivity of district and school staff about the ways to identify students who may be homeless, and to provide additional services to these children to increase their chances for academic success. School districts may apply for federal funds for providing activities for, and services to, homeless students, including preschool-aged homeless children, and youth that enable such children and youth to enroll in, attend and succeed in school.

Subgrants are open to any public school district in Iowa that has identified and reported a minimum of 25 homeless students on Student Reporting in Iowa (SRI). Subgrants are awarded through a highly competitive grant process.

2024-27 Grant Cycle

McKinney-Vento Subgrant Application and Instructions 2024-27

2021-24 Grant Cycle - Application period is closed.

McKinney-Vento Subgrant Application and Instructions 2021-24


  • Bettendorf
  • Boone
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Clinton
  • College
  • Council Bluffs
  • Davenport
  • Des Moines
  • Dubuque
  • Iowa City
  • Knoxville
  • Mason City
  • Saydel
  • Sioux City
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  • Homeless Liaison Toolkit - A comprehensive resource that will assist both new and veteran local liaisons in carrying out their responsibilities. Updated to reflect the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2020 edition of the Homeless Liaison Toolkit includes requirements of the law, good practices, sample forms, and links to resources. Sixteen chapters on topics essential to implementing the McKinney-Vento Act synthesize in an easy-to-read format the essentials that local liaisons must know in order to carry out their responsibilities.




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