Homeless Policy and Procedures
- Charles Obremski, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, is the Homeless Liaison for students and families in the Everett Public Schools.
- Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to attend school.
- A permanent address is not needed to enroll in school.
- Children in homeless situations have the right to stay in the school they attend before becoming homeless or where they last enrolled (school of origin) if the parent or guardian so chooses.
- Schools must provide a written explanation if a placement dispute occurs; parents/guardians may contact the District’s Homeless Liaison.
- A homeless child cannot be denied school enrollment just because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available and must be enrolled immediately.
- A homeless child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
- A homeless child is entitled to free breakfast and lunch, transportation assistance and to receive Title I services.
- Unaccompanied youth, homeless youth not living with parent(s) or guardian(s), have these same rights.
McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless
- Does not have a permanent home
- Lives in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds.
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, sub-standard buildings, or similar settings
- Shares housing of other persons due to the loss of housing economic hardship, or a similar reason
- Is considered an unaccompanied youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) are placed in a Starr Program.
- Migratory Children (as defines in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above
HOMELESS POLICY FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS EDUCATION ASSISTANT ACT
PURPOSE: The goal of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act is to ensure that each homeless child or youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths. The Everett Public Schools (EPS) shall ensure that every effort is made to comply with this legislation.
DEFINITION: EPS is in compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE) which has adopted Section 725 (2) of Act regarding the definition of homeless children and youth:
- Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or have a primary nighttime residence in a supervised, publicly or privately, operated shelter for temporary accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill), and institution providing temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designated for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
- Children and youth 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, are abandoned in hospitals, or are awaiting foster care placement (temporary, transitional or emergency placements):
- Children and youth 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.
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Unaccompanied youth – a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.
ENROLLMENT: The Everett Public Schools will immediately enroll (students attend class) homeless students in school, even if they do not have the documents usually required for enrollment – such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, discipline records, or birth certificate. Furthermore:
- Homeless students have a right to either remain in their school or origin or to attend school where they are temporarily residing.
- Students who choose to remain in their school of origin have the right to remain there until the end of the school year in which they get permanent housing; The Homeless Education Liaison will assist students who arrive without records by contacting the previously attended school system
TRANSPORTATION: The Everett Public Schools shall ensure that transportation is provided according to state guidelines, at the request of the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth, to and from the school or origin:
- If the homeless student continues to live in the area served by the district in which the school of origin is located, that district must provide or arrange transportation according to the established school committee policy;
- If the homeless student moves to an area served by another district, though continuing his or her education at the school of origin, the district in which the student resides must agree upon a method to apportion responsibility and costs for transportation to the school of origin; and
- If the districts cannot agree upon such a method, the responsibility and costs must be shared equally.
ACCESS TO COMPARABLE SERVICES: Homeless students are to be provided services and education programs comparable to those received by other students and for which they meet eligibility criteria, such as services provided under Title I or similar state or local programs for student with disabilities; programs for students with limited English proficiency: vocational or technical programs; gifted and talented programs; tutoring; MCAS remediation; homework assistance; referral to counseling; medical services; school supplies; and school nutrition programs. Homeless students will be enrolled immediately in the free breakfast and lunch program.
ACCESS TO PRESCHOOL: An important goal of McKinney-Vento is to offer homeless preschoolers the same opportunity to enroll and attend and succeed in preschool as non-homeless preschoolers, thereby minimizing their educational disruption due to homelessness.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION: If a dispute arises over school selection (school of origin or school in which homeless child is residing) or enrollment, the Everett Public Schools will immediately enroll the homeless student-pending resolution of the dispute and must provide the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth with both a written statement of the school placement decision and a notice of the right to appeal the decision. The EPS shall refer the unaccompanied youth, parent or guardian to the Homeless Education Liaison, who will expeditiously carry out the dispute resolution process. Disputes which cannot be resolved within the district will be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the final decision in such a situation resides with Massachusetts Commissioner of Education.
UNACCOMPANIED YOUTH & CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN STATE CARE OR CUSTODY: Unaccompanied youth are youth who are homeless not in the physical custody of a parent/guardian, and not in the custody of a state agency. This definition includes youth living on the street in inadequate housing, denied housing by their families, those who have left home voluntarily, even when their parent/s want them to return home and youth doubled up with friends or relatives. Unaccompanied youth are entitled to the same educational rights and services, including transportation, under McKinney-Vento as any homeless child or youth in the care of their parent(s)/guardian(s).
APPROVED BY THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE ON MAY 4, 2015
AMENDED BY THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE ON MARCH 15, 2021
EVERETT COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Families in Need
- Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (food, job and cash assistance and emergency shelter) 617-629-1400
- Shelter for Battered Women and Their children: Emergency Line: 617-661-7203, General Information: 617-354-2676
- CASPAR Emergency Service Center (assistance for homeless men and women with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol) 617-661-0600
- Just a Start Community Development Corporation (transitional housing and tenant/landlord mediation) 617-494-0444
- Massachusetts HEATLINE (fuel assistance) 1-800-632-8175
- Youth Harbors 617-270-3934
- City of Everett Human Services Department 617-394-2260
- Everett Boys and Girls Club 857-363-2611