The Maine Department of Education and Maine schools follow the provisions of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which aims to minimize the educational disruptions experienced by homeless students.
Under McKinney-Vento, homeless students are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. When students become homeless, they can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending, although they might no longer meet residency requirements. McKinney-Vento also guarantees homeless students the right to enroll in a public school even if they lack the typically required documents and immunizations. In addition, homeless students are guaranteed the transportation they need to attend school.
The term homeless child does not include a person housed in a correctional facility, jail, or detention facility. (05-071 Chapter 101, Maine Unified Special Education Regulation)
The Maine DOE is pleased to offer resources and information about the law for school liaisons of education for homeless students on its website.According to McKinney-Vento, “homeless” can be defined as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth:
Sharing housing due to loss of housing or economic hardship
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate housing
Living in emergency or transitional housing
Abandoned in hospitals
Having a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations for human beings
Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
The mission of The Store Next Door Project is to ‘eliminate barriers to education’ for youth experiencing displacement, high mobility and homelessness enrolled in Lewiston Public Schools within Lewiston by addressing students’ basic needs, with the goal of achieving academic success. Students that are homeless, at risk of homelessness, and pregnant/ parenting teens receive support through this project. The program is a 504C non-profit
The Store Next Door Project provides service to over 300 students in a school year. The Store Next Door provides tangible items such as new and gently used clean clothing and footwear, underwear and socks, toiletries and hygiene products, household goods and cleaning supplies, laundry items and laundromat vouchers, gas cards and bus/cab vouchers, food, LHS logo items and sports team gear. We maintain a bank of gift cards to address immediate needs and sometimes to do a little spoiling and lots of celebrating. Concurrent with what The Store Project provides, we also offer academic support and tutoring, backpacks and school supplies.
Most importantly, while addressing basic needs, we provide emotional support and encouragement, and community referrals and connections to services. It all comes down to building human relationships through respect and integrity.
What is McKinney Vento? (for Educators)
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