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McKinney-Vento Homeless Education

Back-to-School: Identification and Enrollment of McKinney-Vento Eligible Students

As a new school year begins, schools and districts have the opportunity to connect with parents, families and students in ways that we haven’t had the opportunity to do in the past couple of years.  Connecting with students and families who are experiencing homelessness is more vital now than ever.  With a 30% drop in identified McKinney-Vento eligible students from the 2019-2020 school-year to the 2020-21 school year across Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is committed to supporting McKinney-Vento Liaisons in training, technical assistance and strategies for leveraging partnerships to identify and enroll students experiencing homelessness.

Please review the following resources to learn more about identification and enrollment of students experiencing homelessness during this back-to-school season


Back to School Memo sent to District Liaisons on 8/17/22 (PDF)


DEADLINE EXTENDED!  Outreach and Emergency Assistance Statewide Grant Program for Community-Based Organizations: Serving Students Experiencing Homelessness in Partnership with Public School Districts

Applications due: Friday, September 30, 2022, 11:59pm

Request for Applications (RFA)  is now open to Community-based Organizations (CBOs) who demonstrate qualifications pursuant to section 2001(b)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in order to:

  • Increase outreach and identification of children and youth experiencing homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act who have been impacted by COVID-19 and/or have chronic absenteeism and/or are at risk of dropping out.

  • Provide homeless children and youth with wrap-around services in light of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including academic supports, trauma informed care, social-emotional support, and mental health services

  • Assist in addressing the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness to enable their enrollment and attendance in school and full participation in school activities

Approximately $1,391,000 is available for the performance period from October 1, 2022 - September 30, 2024, with ARP-HCY funding under section 2001(b)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Colorado Department of Education anticipates awarding grants for a 24-month performance period. Grants will be made in an amount no less than $300,000 and no more than $750,000 for the performance period listed above.

Applicants must demonstrate a successful history of working directly with public school districts and schools statewide in at least one of the two purpose areas listed below:

  1. Identify homeless children and youth through outreach and reengagement strategies statewide, and provide wraparound services to reduce barriers to students attending and participating fully in school activities.

  2. Direct distribution of emergency assistance and support to students and their families experiencing homelessness throughout the state of Colorado to reduce barriers to students attending school and participating fully in school activities.

An information webinar was held, Friday, July 8th.  Please listen to the recording here and review the slides  here.

To Apply

Completed applications (including all required elements outlined in the RFA) must be submitted through the online application form by Friday, September 30, 2022, by 11:59 pm.

The budget workbook must be included in the online application as an attachment. 

The Word and PDF versions of the application are available for your reference below. Reminder, no emailed or mailed versions of the application, or required attachments will be accepted.  All applicants must submit using the online application form.


About Homeless Education

  • The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of legislation related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Specific provisions ensure the enrollment, accessibility, and educational stability for students lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

Who qualifies for McKinney-Vento?

  • Any displaced child or youth experiencing the following has educational rights under the McKinney-Vento Act:
    • is living in a shelter, motel, inadequate trailer, or house;
    • is staying temporarily with relatives or friends due to economic hardship or loss of housing; or
    • is living in any other homeless situation.

image of MKV students studying and playing

Educational Rights of McKinney-Vento Students

  • Access to a McKinney-Vento Homeless Educational Liaison in their school district
  • Identification through outreach and coordination activities
  • Immediate enrollment with full and equal opportunity to succeed in school
  • Choice between the neighborhood school or the school of origin (school last enrolled in or attended)
  • Transportation to the school of origin (including preschool)
  • Immediate access to free school meals and educational services for which they are eligible
  • Automatic eligibility for Title I, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015
  • Referrals to health care, dental, mental health and substance abuse, housing, and other appropriate services
  • Unaccompanied youth are informed of their status as independent students on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Check out our Program Overview (PDF) for additional information about Colorado’s McKinney-Vento Program.

You can also refer to the US Department of Education's Education for Homeless Children and Youth site for more information and use the ED Data Express website to browse education data by state.

McKinney-Vento Liaisons

  • Every school district has a designated McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Liaison responsible for identifying MKV students and providing resources to help these students.
  • Refer to our list of liaisons to find the liaison in your district.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions on the Education Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations

This document, created collaboratively by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP), and updated in October 2017, provides answers to many of the most frequently asked questions on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the educational rights of children and youth in homeless situations.

Download The Most Frequently Asked Questions on the Education Rights of Children and Youth in Homeless Situations.

More Resources available under Resources and Training Materials