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: 808-203-5521
  • Maui, Molokai, Lanai: 808-984-8001
  • Kauai: 808-241-3120
  • State Office: 808-203-5521
  • 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 can obtain access to free bus transportation to school from their displaced location. Work with your homeless concerns liaison to procure a bus pass.

Contact Information

Cassandra Bennett

Phone: 808-203-5521

Email: cassandra_bennett@hawaiidoe.org

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