Resources for homeless families

Families who find themselves grappling with homelessness have rights under the McKinney-Vento Act to ensure their children continue uninterrupted access to education and services.

Homeless Concerns Liaison contacts

  • Hawaii (Hilo): 808-933-2920
  • Hawaii (Kona): 808-327-4991
  • Oahu: 808-305-9869
  • Maui, Molokai, Lanai: 808-984-8001
  • Kauai: 808-241-3120
  • State Office: 808-305-9869
  • State Office, toll-free: 866-927-7095

​Rights under the McKinney-Vento Act

Parents, if your family lives in any of the following situations:

  • In a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground;
  • On the street;
  • In an abandoned building, trailer, or other inadequate accommodations, or
  • Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing;

then your preschool- and school-aged children have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. Your children have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. They must be given access to the same public education, including preschool education, provided to other children.
  • Continue in the school they attended before you became homeless or the school they last attended, if that is your choice and is feasible. If a school sends your child to a school other than the one you request, the school must provide you with a written explanation and offer you the right to appeal the decision.
  • Receive transportation to the school they attended before your family became homeless or the school they last attended (if you are a guardian request such transportation).
  • Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Children cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
  • Enroll in a school without giving a permanent addresss. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.
  • Enroll and attend class while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
  • Enroll and attend class in the school of your choice even while the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrolling your children.
  • Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other children served in these programs.
  • Receive transportation services comparable to services offered to other students.

When you move, you should do the following:

  • Contact the homeless concerns liaison in your area for help in enrolling your child in a new school or arranging for your child to continue in his or her former school. (Or, someone at a shelter, social services office or the school can direct you to the person to contact.)
  • Contact the school and provide any information you think will assist the teachers in helping your child adjust to new circumstances.
  • Ask the homeless concerns liaison, the shelter provider or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed.


Transportation to school

Students who qualify for assistance under the McKinney-Vento Act may be eligible for free bus transportation to and from school. Please work with the homeless concerns designee and liaison at your school to determine eligibility, and to secure a bus pass if applicable.

Contact Information

Cassandra Bennett

Phone: 808-305-9869

Email: cassandra_bennett@hawaiidoe.org

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