Homeless Scholars/Families

The liaison for homeless families with school aged children attending a Gem Innovation School is Tera Reeves. She may be reached at 208-877-1513. Local liaisons are available at each school, for Gem Prep: Meridian contact Jake Sorensen at 208-917-9150.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Subtitle B-Education for Homeless Children and Youth) ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Services to homeless children are required by local educational agencies in the Every Student Succeeds Act, and are primarily found under the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Title IX, Part A Every Student Succeeds Act) and under Title I.

Who is Homeless?

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, as defined by the following:

  • Doubled up with family or a friend
  • In a car, park, campground, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing or similar
  • In a motel or hotel
  • In a house or vehicle of any kind (including a camper) without running water, electricity or heat
  • In a shelter or transitional housing
  • Unaccompanied youth not living with a parent or legal guardian
  • Youth awaiting foster care (first 30 days in foster care)
  • Migratory children living in similar living conditions

Homeless Scholar Rights

  • Homeless children have a right to attend school.
  • You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
  • Homeless children have the right to stay in their school of origin if the parents choose.
  • Your child cannot be denied school enrollment just because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
  • Your child has the opportunity to receive transportation services to and from the school of origin.
  • Your child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state or local programs for which he/she is eligible.

School of Origin

The school of origin is defined as the school the scholar attended when permanently housed or the school in which the scholar was last enrolled.

School Resources

Services available for scholars who are experiencing homelessness:

  • Qualification for free breakfast and lunch program
  • Transportation assistance to remain in their school of origin
  • Referrals for clothing
  • Backpacks, school supplies, blankets and hygiene kits
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Referrals to food pantries and/or free meals
  • Referrals to domestic violence advocates
  • Referrals to medical/dental assistance
  • Assistance with college applications and financial aid applications

To arrange for these services, contact your school’s local homeless liaison.

Government Resources

  • Idaho State Department of Education-Homeless Education This is the State of Idaho Department of Education's website regarding homeless education: https://www.sde.idaho.gov/federal-programs/homeless/
  • National Association for Education of Homeless Children and Youth is the national organization that supports the education of homeless children and youth. Their website has information regarding policy and advocacy, higher education for homeless youth, unaccompanied homeless youth, and more: https://www.naehcy.org/
  • National Center on Homeless Education is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. It contains resources for educators, family and youth regarding homeless education: https://center.serve.org/nche/