State Pilot to Help Maine Students Avoid Homelessness


New Resources Available for Families!


Are you facing eviction? Not sure where you will stay? Need help with bills or repairs to your home? You may want to contact your child’s school district McKinney-Vento Liaison and ask about the Pilot Program to Prevent Student Homelessness. Every school district in Maine had the opportunity to receive funding to support families to prevent homelessness or help with homes that need repairs. This is a statewide program that may provide up to $750/student to help with housing assistance, utilities, or home repairs. This looks different in each district, so you will want to connect with your local liaison for more information. You can look up liaisons here.



New Funding Opportunities for SAUs

The new State Pilot Program to Help Maine Students Avoid Homelessness is effective as of July 1, 2023. This pilot program provides McKinney-Vento liaisons with access to emergency financial assistance for students at risk of homelessness.

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) will provide McKinney-Vento liaisons access to emergency financial assistance for the families of students in an amount of up to $750 per student per year. Emergency assistance may be provided for any allowable uses under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and other housing-related needs such as rental assistance, utilities, and critical home repairs that will help a student avoid homelessness. School administrative units (SAUs) will receive allocations via a formula this fall and can apply for reimbursement through the Grants4ME system. Because the budget that includes the allocation for this project will not be enacted until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, invoices will not begin to be processed until after October 25, 2023. SAUs may apply for pre-award costs dating back to 7/1/2023. 

Resources for Review

Applications can be submitted on a rolling basis. Applications submitted in any month, except May, will be processed the last week of the month. For example, if an application is submitted March 1, 2019 and another March 15, 2019, they will both be processed the last week of March - March 25 - 29. Any applications submitted the last week of the month will be held until the last week of the following month.
The last day applications can be postmarked is May 15th, or filed electronically by May 15th at 11:59 pm, of the student's senior year. All applications submitted in May will be processed starting on May 16th.

For what could this funding be used? 

Emergency assistance may be provided for services authorized for funding under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in addition to assistance for other housing-related needs such as rental assistance, utilities and critical home repairs and other assistance that will help a student avoid homelessness. This funding should be used for emergency needs and work to prevent student homelessness. This funding must be used for direct payment to a vendor for a service, such as a landlord or utility company, and requires invoices. This funding cannot be distributed directly to families or students. 

Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (per Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) authorizes the allowable usages of McKinney-Vento local educational agency subgrant funds here. Other allowable uses include: 

  • Housing-related needs, rental assistance, security deposits, hotel/motel stays 
  • Utilities, heating, electricity, water 
  • Critical home repairs, fixing broken windows, roof repair, floor repair, a working kitchen, plumbing, electrical, or other health and safety home repairs, provision of potable water and sewer, energy conservation, removal/mitigation of lead-based paint, asbestos, radon, or other hazardous material, and removal/mitigation of pests, vermin, or mold. 
  • The provision of assistance to defray the excess cost of transportation for students where necessary to enable students to attend the school selected. 
  • The provision of other extraordinary or emergency assistance needed to enable homeless children and youths to attend school and participate fully in school activities. Examples may include car repairs if the student is residing in the vehicle, or the vehicle is the primary method the child is transported to/from school, or furniture if the housing would otherwise be determined inadequate under the definition of McKinney-Vento, for example, the child did not have a bed.
Who is eligible to receive this support?

Any student enrolled in a SAU who is at-risk for experiencing homelessness, whether they are currently McKinney-Vento eligible or not, in the amount of $750 per student, per school year (July 1-June 30). If a family has two students, that could be up to $1500, three students $2250, etc. It will be determined at the local level on how to handle referrals. If a partner organization brings a referral to the SAU about a family who could benefit from this program, it is still up to the liaison and team to determine how to allocate the funding. 

This program does not apply to students who are not enrolled in the SAU, such as adult education, higher education institutions, or early childhood without a public pre-K program. 

What is the time frame for funding?

Pre-award costs are allowable back to July 1, 2023. It is anticipated that reimbursement will arrive within 2-4 weeks from when it is submitted in Grants4ME. The fund code is 2230 and revenue code 3261.

The first round of funding can be spent from 7/1/23 - 12/30/24, and invoices must be submitted by 3/31/25. The second round of funding can be spent from 7/1/24 - 12/30/25 and invoices must be submitted by 3/31/26.

Are there any best practices the Department recommends for making decisions about distributing funds?

This will be a local decision made with the McKinney-Vento liaison. Some SAUs have decided to send a form to all social workers/counselors in the SAU to identify existing needs and then determine where to allocate funding. It is the responsibility of the SAU to communicate with any other SAUs that a child was enrolled in during this school year to determine if they’ve already received the funding. This could be done as a part of the Best Interest Determination process, when liaisons are in communication already. 

How does an SAU pay a vendor directly without taking on the liability like in paying for a hotel?

Coordinate with the business so that families sign a waiver accepting any liability. One example is a district who created an MOU with a local hotel that included that the school district is not liable for any damages incurred. See: Monterey Peninsula Unified Rate Agreement with Motel 6 

What will the SAU report related to this funding?

SAUs/EUT who opt to receive this funding will be required to submit a brief activities report on June 1, 2024, through Grants4ME. Reporting elements for the report will include total amount of funding accessed, by category, what other sources of funding were pursued to meet the identified needs, and how this funding impacted students and their education. In the spring of 2024, the Maine DOE will reallocate any remaining Preventing Student Homelessness Pilot Program funds for the 2023-24 school year that were declined by SAUs. 

Where else can an SAU refer families for these needs?

SAUs can refer families to other community resources like General Assistance (GA), Community Action Programs, charitable donations, Regional Care Teams, Maine Housing Hub coordinators, Maine Housing Navigators, Utility Company Programs for those in need, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, etc. LEAs should encourage families to disclose the receipt of these funds to their GA office if they are accessing GA. 

I still have questions, who do I contact? 

Email Hannah Ryde at


Amelia Lyons Rukema
Interim Climate Culture Resilience Team Coordinator
Office of School & Student Supports
Phone: 207-557-1787