Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act, eligible students who are homeless are eligible to enroll in school even if unable to provide proof of residency or certain education and immunization records.
Eligible students include student who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and include a child or youth:
- who is sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or camping ground due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital;
- who is living in a car, park or public space or in an abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station or similar setting;
- who has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; or
- who is a migratory child who qualifies as homeless because the child is living in circumstances as described above.
Eligible students have the right to:
- Continue to attend their school of origin or attend school in the district of their current residence, depending upon the student’s best interest
- Comparable educational services
- Transportation to and from school
- Free school meals
- Full participation in school activities
- The right to be served without stigma or separation
If you believe that you or your child is eligible for services under this law, please inform the person registering you or the school district’s homeless liaison.
As the largest and most diverse school district within the State of Maine, Portland Public Schools’ student body is representative of all socioeconomic groups including students experiencing homelessness and poverty. Given the unique and many challenges these students face, the district recognized the critical need for intensive support services beyond those that existed within the district. In response to this need, the Street Academy was created and administered through Portland Public Schools’ Adult Education Program in 1995, to work directly with the 16-21 year old homeless population who access and receive services for basic needs at the Preble Street Teen Center (located in downtown Portland).
Street Academy offers homeless youth:
- Student engagement, assessment, school enrollment assistance and support services
- Advocacy to reduce the barriers while pursuing their educational and employment goals
- On-site HiSET pre-testing and testing
- One-on-One tutoring
- Credit recovery
- Post-secondary preparation, planning and guidance
- Employment preparation and placement