Homeless Education (McKinney-Vento)

Students in Housing Transition

The McKinney-Vento Homeless [Education] Assistance Act is a federal law ensuring immediate enrollment and educational stability for students experiencing homelessness. McKinney-Vento provides federal funding to states to support district programs serving children, youth & families without their own permanent address. Centennial BOCES is a regional leader specializing in McKinney-Vento consultation, such as technical assistance, problem solving, resource brokerage, ideas, and community/ program building.

Who:  Any student who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate home

Any displaced child or youth who fits any of the below descriptions has educational rights under the McKinney-Vento Act.

  • Solo, independent and living with someone else who is not their parent/ legal guardian, 
  • Family moved in with another family due to an economic hardship (not having enough money), the lack of affordable housing and / or fleeing a domestic, family crisis
  • In a shelter, motel / hotel
  • Inadequate (for example, mold, non-working bathroom, kitchen, broken window, inconsistent electricity, water, heat, etc.) trailer or house, outside, car, camper, abandoned building, barn, places not designed for human habitation, ad hoc living environment
  • Living in a shelter or in a transitional housing program
  • Living in any other houseless situation 


McKinney-Vento Specific Rights

  • Automatic enrollment
  • Immediate enrollment when a youth is unaccompanied, independent of parents or legal guardians
  • Continued attendance in school of origin, or the school they last attended while housed
  • Transportation to the school of origin (if it's a barrier) through school bus, district vehicle, public transportation, taxi or provision of fuel assistance
  • All general school fees waived
  • Free meals; do not need to fill out Free / Reduced lunch form
  • High school counselor career and college preparation navigation
  • Independent Status on FAFSA, meaning they do not need to file their parents / legal guardians tax information, which increases their free grant money​


State & National Rights

Legal Right to Food

Youth have the right to consistent, wholesome food through the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is a free $200 / month food debit card! You can shop for yourself at your local grocery store!

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) | Colorado Department of Human Services 

Print it out, fill it out with an adult, write “student, federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, don’t live with parents, often moving / temporary living situations, ____, …., with a smart adult, go in the morning for a few hours to your local county human services, if necessary, be fearless to politely talk with their supervisor & get your card in the afternoon!

Legal Right to Consent to Shelter
This bill (SB20-106) is for 15-17 year olds.
Consent To Shelter And Services By Homeless Youth | Colorado General Assembly 

The purpose of the McKinney-Vento (MV) project administered by the Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services (CBOCES) is to ensure educational access, school stability as well as academic and social success for students experiencing housing insecurity throughout communities located in North central, Northeastern, and East central Colorado. In partnering with the North East and East Central BOCES, services and supports are offered to 50 school districts.

Additionally, Greeley / Evans School District 6, Poudre School District, Thompson School District & Saint Vrain Valley School District, are able to take advantage of Regional Consultation services and leveraged resources for their students experiencing homelessness through collaboration with the CBOCES regional Migrant Education Program (MEP) grant. CBOCES also operates three alternative high schools located in Fort Morgan (Morgan County), Greeley (Weld County) and Longmont (Boulder County) for both rural and urban students, many who disproportionally experience homelessness throughout the year.


Role of Liaison & resources to get you familiar with the McKinney-Vento law:


  1.  An introduction brief to homeless education, including legal definitions and rights.

  2.  A brief on the role and duties of the homeless education liaison.

  3.  You will read in the homeless liaison brief that part of your responsibilities is to determine McKinney-Vento program eligibility and school placement.  The following determining eligibility brief: here and a supporting school selection checklist are great resources that will provide step by step determinations on these processes.

  4.  Supporting students experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a new set of challenges related to school stability, enrollment, and academic success.  Schoolhouse connections offers resources to learn more about homelessness during the times of COVID, and CDE has also updated COVID FAQs to support you in navigating this ever changing environment.


Over 2,000 students in grades pre K - high school / GED receive services and support through our MV project. Our MV services range from high quality professional development, 4 annual regional McKinney-Vento Summits (Limon, Sterling, Fort Morgan & Greeley), on-site consultation with district staff and students, community resource development and delivery, and solution-focused problem solving with students / families as they confront educational, social barriers and houselessness.

CBOCES also operates the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) - Basic Center Program (BCP) for 12-17 year old youth. With our state partners at the Colorado Rural Collaborative, we are able provide Emergency Shelter through our Host Home Model, where we provide counsel, advice, tangible resources, and some financial support for up to 21 days! 

The CBOCES MV project collaborates with other community agencies and programs, such as Child Find, Head Start, the MEP, Title I Part A, Title II, Title Ill, Special Education, the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP), local school districts, colleges and universities, non-profits, governmental and faith-based organizations to address the unique needs of MV students, families, and educators. The outcomes of our MV project are to promote and increase the enrollment and retention of students in school leading to academic and social success, graduation, and college and career readiness.


Partnering with Migrant Education

The McKinney-Vento Act is also purposefully integrated with our regional Migrant Education Program. Our students' experiences of high mobility (migrant) and housing insecurity parallel one another in a troubling way. According to our 2013 regional MEP data, migrant students are six times more likely to experience a housing crisis than their non-migrant agricultural peers.

Our migrant team builds relationships with families based on trust and respect, and brokers resources for many families who meet the criteria for migrant, refugee, homeless, and immigrant programs. 


Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

​For information about eligibility for services through McKinney-Vento, visit the Colorado Department of Education's website.

For questions or assistance, contact Marc Fortney, Master of Social Work, the McKinney-Vento Northeast Regional Consultant, at mfortney@cboces.org or at (970) 381-6321 call/text


Every District is Federally mandated to have a Homeless Education Liason

Coverage Area Map


Local United Way
Search 211 online or dial 211 on  the phone


Local Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, and other places of worship are good sources of assistance. 


Always Open Resources (24/7 365)


National Runaway Safeline

​Colorado Crisis Line:
Text "Talk" to 38255, to text with a mental wellness specialist

Transient Youth Poster
Transient Youth Poster Spanish
Help on Your Terms  Foster Youth


Independent Student Visit Day Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO Friday,November 3rd,2023 9:00 am - 3:00 pm If you have experienced one or more of the following between the ages of 13-23, the CSU Fostering Success Program invites you to Independent Student Visit Day: McKinney -Vento unaccompanied youth Foster care Kinship care Legal guardian Orphan Ward of court Emancipation  Current independent youth in high school or recently graduated from high school in the last few years - We invite you to Join us for the following opportunities. Learn about funding, so you can afford college EnJoy a free lunch & connect with people who can help you succeed at CSU Find out how to get admitted at CSU & tour the campus Make connections with successful independent college students  We believe in you! Hundreds of students from independent backgrounds at CSU have graduated college. We want to see ou succeedI  Independent students : Complete the regIstratIon form at https:// connect.colostate.edu/reg1ster/? 1d=949b8 43f-4697-4d10-97b01 84cb9b183290. Contact andrea.fortney@colostate.edu with questions