What is Homelessness?
The federal definition of homelessness used by all public schools in the United States includes children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition specifically includes children and youth living in shelters, transitional housing, cars, campgrounds, motels, and sharing the housing of others temporarily due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons.
To ensure a free and appropriate public school education for homeless students, the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is designed to remove barriers to education created by homelessness. Local school districts are required to:
- appoint a district homeless liaison,
- identify and report all homeless students,
- ensure immediate enrollment with or without school records, and
- provide transportation and educational supports to homeless students.
The TBAISD region receives a state grant to assist districts with meeting these needs. Traverse City Area Public Schools is the grant fiduciary and coordinator of services. TBAISD assists local school districts in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties with local district liaison professional development, and community support answering questions regarding student needs and federal compliance.