McKinney-Vento Homeless Supports for Students

At Montabella Community Schools, we are committed to making sure that all of our students have access to free, appropriate education.  We understand that there are times when families experience housing issues, which qualify them as homeless.  Through coordination with local agencies, guidelines set forth by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Grant, and federal funding, we are able to support our students through these times. 

The McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless

Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (per Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) defines homeless as follows:

The term "homeless children and youths"--
(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and
(B) includes-

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;*
(ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

*Per Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act, "awaiting foster care placement" was removed from the definition of homeless on December 10, 2016; the only exception to his removal is that "covered states" have until December 10, 2017, to remove "awaiting foster care placement" from their definition of homeless.


To be eligible for services, the student must meet the Act’s definition of homeless. The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youths” as “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” Lacking any one of these three conditions would make a child eligible. In other words, if the residence is not fixed, regular, and adequate, it is considered a homeless situation. The list of examples included in the Act in the definition is not exclusive.

Eligible students have the right to:
  • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is their preference. * If the school district believes that the school selected is not in his/her best interest, then the district must provide the student with a written explanation of its position and inform the student of his/her right to appeal its decision.
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested.
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the students’ needs.


McKinney-Vento Parent Brochure - English

McKinney-Vento Parent Brochure - Spanish

2023 Montcalm County Resource Directory

2023 Food Pantries List - Montcalm County

Counseling and Resources List - Find free or reduced-cost resources like food, housing, financial assistance, health care, and more.

GIMI Shelter - Connects Gratiot, Isabella, Montacalm, & Ionia Counties with resources and services to find housing in the area.

211 - 2-1-1 is an easy way to find help of all kinds, right in your community. Connects you to resources to assist food, housing, and paying bills. Visit the website or call 2-1-1.

Contact Information:

Jennifer Socha
Community Schools McKinney-Vento District Liaison
Phone: 989-427-5149 ext. 613

Kristen Lindsey
Montcalm Area ISD Mental Health and Homeless Coordinator
Phone: 616-225-6126

Michelle Williams
Michigan Department of Education McKinney-Vento Grant Coordinator
Phone: 517-241-6977