The Maine Department of Education and Maine schools follow the provisions of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This law helps students whose housing situations are impacting their education. All students are guaranteed the right to a free, appropriate, public education. They can remain enrolled in the schools they have been attending even if they are temporarily staying out of the district but also have the right to enroll in their new school of residence. To help keep students in school during times of housing instability, enrollment should be immediate, even if families cannot provide typically required documents or immunization records right away. Schools must provide transportation for students who need it to attend school. McKinney-Vento protections apply to all public school students, pre-K through grade 12 who “lack 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
- Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
- Migratory students meeting the descriptions above
Migrant Education, McKinney Vento and ESOL Programs Collaboration
ESOL Programs staff, McKinney Vento liaisons, and Migrant Education Program staff frequently collaborate to support students that qualify for their programs. Oftentimes, Multilingual Learners, Migratory children, and Students Experiencing Homelessness qualify for one, two, or all three of these programs. Therefore, in order to best identify and serve all children who may qualify for these services, the Maine Department of Education recommends these screener forms to be included as part of enrollment packets for every student, every year:
The Maine Department of Education appreciates all of the great work schools are doing to support these students. Please follow each program's policies and guidelines for the implementation of these forms and contact each program's corresponding administration for follow up and questions.
Find a McKinney-Vento Liaison
Every Maine school system has a local McKinney-Vento Liaison to assist families and youth who are experiencing housing instability.
Resources for People Experiencing Housing Instability
- Maine Housing Resources
- Check with your local Housing Navigator
Aroostook County: Aroostook County Action Program, Presque Isle Housing Authority, Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness Kennebec, Somerset Counties & Brunswick: Immigrant Resource Center of Maine Androscoggin County: Lewiston Housing Authority, Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, ProsperityME Midcoast and Penobscot County: Penquis Community Action Agency, Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness Cumberland County - ProsperityME, South Portland Housing Authority
- Hub Coordinator
- General Assistance - Families may be eligible for General Assistance if they do not have the income or resources to meet basic needs. If you are unable to reach your local GA office or you have questions or concerns, call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-442-6003. General Assistance | Department of Health and Human Services (maine.gov) For help with legal assistance related to GA: General Assistance in Maine | Pine Tree Legal Assistance (ptla.org)
- Local Housing Authority - Housing Authorities’ mission is to develop, provide and assist decent, safe and affordable housing for lower income persons. MaineHousing administers voucher programs in all areas of the state not served by a Local Housing Authority.
- Local Shelter Provider– Even if an individual is not interested in staying at a shelter, many shelters have programs and resources to support finding housing for anyone facing homelessness in the community, regardless if they stay at the shelter or not. The shelters listed below provide emergency shelter. For information on other shelters or resources in your area, dial 2-1-1. York County - Quality Housing Coalition, York Community Service Association & Fair Tide
- National Runaway Safeline
- For resources and services for children not yet in public school, please contact the Child Development Services Liaison, Jackie Hersom at Jacquelyn.N.Hersom@maine.gov, or (207) 242-7725.
- Check with your local Housing Navigator
- Statewide Organizations that Help Low-Income Families
- Maine Youth Action Board through New Beginnings
- Gateway Community Services Maine Transportation Resources through ME DHHS
- Statewide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Statewide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) | Department of Health and Human Services (maine.gov)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Statewide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | Department of Health and Human Services (maine.gov)
- MaineCare Health Care Assistance | Department of Health and Human Services (maine.gov)
- Good Shepherd Food Map Food Map | Maine Food Pantries | Good Shepherd Food Bank (gsfb.org)
- Maine Needs Maine Needs Basic material needs (clothing, hygiene products, household items)
- 211 211 Maine | Services Directory & Assistance Programs Connection to a range of services
- Help Me Grow Help Me Grow Maine Free service for pregnant families and children 0-8
- Migrant Education Program Migrant Ed Program For families who work in agriculture or fishing Community Based
- Organization Partnerships with ME DOE:
- Androscoggin, Knox, Waldo, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Lincoln, Franklin, Kennebec, Oxford counties: Signe Lynch at email@example.com
- York, Cumberland counties: Hannah Ryde at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Piscataquis, Hancock, Penobscot, Washington, Aroostook: Stormi Petravicz at email@example.com
McKinney-Vento Outreach Materials
Information Flyers, Presentations & Handouts
Know Your Rights (PPT Presentation)
Info on McKinney-Vento for Families & Youth (PPT Presentation)
What is McKinney-Vento? (5 mins)
Find additional MV recordings here!
Social Media Marketing
New Funding Opportunities!
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.
We will share more information as it is made available.
ARP funds received from the USDOE support the implementation of this project. The project has an award totaling $795,000 dollars of which 100% is federally funded and directly attributed to project implementation. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by the USDOE or the U.S. Government.
Amelia Lyons Rukema
McKinney-Vento Education Specialist
Office of School & Student Supports