Homeless Education

Homeless Header



Homeless children have the right to a free, appropriate public education

McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001


Homeless Education Information

Department of Education Homeless Education website


Who is considered homeless?

Homeless Children and Youth May be Found Living in the Following Places or Situations:

  • Public or private shelters;
  • With a parent in a domestic violence shelter;
  • Transitional housing programs;
  • Public or private places not designated for, or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations such as; vehicles, parks, hotels/motels, campgrounds, etc.;
  • Individuals and/or families staying with relatives or friends due to lack of housing;
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – a child not in the physical custody of a legal parent or guardian. Includes: runaways, children thrown out or kicked out of their home;
  • Children abandoned or separated from their parents;
  • Children of migrant families who lack adequate housing.

Does residency have to be proven?

No, because homeless families are unable to establish a "home" on a permanent basis, a school cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay the enrollment of school-age children.

What choice of schools do homeless students have?

 The law indicates that the local education agency shall, according to the child’s best interest:

(i) continue the child’s or youth’s education in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness (I) in any case in which a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year;


(ii) for the remainder of the academic year, if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or (II) enroll the child or youth in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

Is there any reason to delay enrolling a homeless child?

No. The school selected shall immediately enroll the child/youth in school, even if the child or youth lacks records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documentation. The terms "enroll" and "enrollment" are defined to include attending classes and participating fully in school activities. The enrolling school must immediately contact the last school the child or youth attended to obtain relevant academic and other records. Immunization records can be transferred over the phone from the school nurse of the sending school to the school nurse of the receiving school.

Where can you call for assistance?

The Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program exists to help homeless children with a wide variety of services. We can assist homeless children during this time of change and stress. If you are homeless with school-age children or you are a school, agency, or shelter employee, please contact one of the persons listed below.

Altoona Area School District Homeless Liaisons

Mark Harrington  and Julie Roberts

(814) 946-8218 

[email protected]

[email protected]


Homeless Support Specialist

Tracy Fitzpatrick

Office: (814) 946-5057 Work Cell: (814) 299-6599

[email protected]


Regional 6 Homeless Coordinator:

Sarah Schroth

Regional Coordinator

Telephone:  (724) 463-5300 x 1203

Email:  [email protected]


Regional Coordinator for Foster Care

Irene Walker

Regional Coordinator for Foster Care

Telephone:  (724) 463-5300 x 1207
[email protected]


Contact may also be made to:

Pennsylvania Department of Education
Division of Student and Safe School Services
Pennsylvania Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program
333 Market Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126
Telephone: 717.683.6468



Additional Homeless Education Resources

Finding your Way in PA APP has been launched and is available to download  on all 3 platforms (Web, Google Play Store & Apple App Store). Families can search for services by zip code and connect with resources easily. 

For more information, please visit https://findingyourwayinpa.com/

NCHE operates the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program.