Informaton for Students
Youth who are between the ages of 21 and 24 and who are unaccompanied and homeless, or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless, qualify for a homeless youth determination, and will be considered independent students.
Who Qualifies As Homeless In Our District?
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, if you or your family lives in any of the following situations you may qualify for services from Project REACH:
- In a transitional, domestic, emergency shelter or youth shelter
- In a motel or hotel
- Temporarily staying with family or friends because you have lost your housing and have no place to stay
- Staying in emergency foster care (awaiting placement)
- In the community, a car, on the street, or in and abandoned building.
If you are currently staying in one of these situations, please contact the homeless contact, school social worker, your principal or a teacher in your school and ask for assistance. You can also call us directly at 651-632-3790.
What are my rights?
Students in Homeless Situations Have the Right to:
Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, if you are homeless you have the right to:
- Stay in school and attend the school you are currently attending
- Enroll in school without a permanent address, immunizations or school records
- Get free school meals without delay
- Get transportation to school when feasible
- Go to school with non-homeless students
- Receive other educational services you may need
Dispute Resolution Procedures
Families and youth in homeless situations may be unaware of their right to dispute placement and enrollment decisions. When disputes are raised, too often, students are kept out of school during the dispute resolution process. This interruption in education can severely damage students’ academic progress. Saint Paul Public School Policy 503.01 requires that disputes regarding the educational placement of a student in a homeless situation will be expeditiously addressed through a dispute resolution process. Parents or guardians and unaccompanied youth must be informed of the process and in the event of the dispute, the student must be immediately enrolled in the school of choice while the dispute is being resolved.
If a family or youth in homeless situations attending school wants to pursue their right to a dispute or if the district disagrees with a parent, guardian or homeless youth regarding an issue related to the rights of a homeless student, the following steps must be taken:
The school district must immediately enroll the students and arrange for transportation and other services as appropriate.
With the involvement of the Title I Homeless Liaison, (Heather Alden, Heather.Alden@spps.org, Office: 651-744-7173 • Cell: 651-231-0404) attempt to discuss the issues to determine if more information is needed to resolve the issue.
If the issue cannot be resolved, a letter will be issued the parent/guardian or youth explaining the district’s position as to the homelessness-related dispute. In this letter, it is important to include referrals the district Ombudsperson (Dana Abrams 651-767-8394), advocates or attorneys.
Either party may send a written request to the Minnesota Department of Education Homeless State Coordinator asking the State Coordinator (Roberto Reyes, 651 582-8302) to review such decision compliance with applicable law. Such request must include any documentation related to the dispute resolution proceeding.
The State Coordinator may request any additional information from either party he or she deems relevant in resolving the issue.
- If I cannot stay at home, where do I start to get help?
- What youth shelters are available for me to stay at?
- If I haven’t attended school for awhile and I want to re-enroll what should I do?
- Can I apply for financial aid for college if I am homeless and do not live with my parents?
- I'm behind in credits, what can I do?
- I need to work but want to go to school. Can I do both?
- Where can I go to get assistance with a GED?
- I’ve missed school and my school has dropped me. What can I do?
- I have a young child and still want to attend school? What are my options?
- Where can I go for other resources like food, clothing, or medical help?