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McKinney-Vento Act

After receiving reports that up to 50% of homeless children were not attending school, Congress established the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. President Ronald Regan signed it into law on July 22, 1987. The McKinney-Vento Act was created with the goal of ensuring the enrollment, attendance, and success of homeless children and youth in school. It provides states with funding to help remove barriers to education.

Who is Homeless?

Children who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate night time residence:

  • "Double up" - Sharing the housing of others due to the loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reasons.
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations.
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live.
  • Migratory children living in above circumstances
  • Awaiting foster care placement
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • Unaccompanied Youth - Children or youth who meets the definition of homeless and not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian

Residency and Educational Rights

Students who are in temporary, inadequate and homeless living situations have the following rights:

  • Immediate enrollment in the school they last attended or the school in whose attendance area they are currently staying even if they do not have all of the documents normally required at the time of enrollment;
  • Access to free meals and textbooks, Title I and other educational programs and other comparable services including transportation;
  • Attendance in the same classes and activities that students in other living situations also participate in without fear of being separated or treated differently due to their housing situations.


Family Resources


How to Help

FWCS Clothing Bank

FWCS Families in Transition

As one of the largest school districts in the state, FWCS Families in Transition Program provides services to students in pre-K through 12th grade who are experiencing homelessness. Through this program, students are referred to the Families in Transition Coordinator, who helps account for the number of homeless students and ensures that homeless students receive the critical support/resources needed for academic success by eliminating barriers that would prevent homeless students from attending school. FWCS has served over 1,000 homeless students each year by providing wrap-around services and access to outside resources to help remove student education barriers. These are students who are struggling as they lack basic necessities, such as clothing/shoes, personal hygiene products, and school supplies. Without the continued support and donations from the Fort Wayne community, meeting each of our student’s need would not be possible.

Clothing and Hygiene Product Donation Requests

  • Shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Pants
  • Shoes
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Coats
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Combs/Brushes
  • Hair Ties

School Supplies Donation Requests

  • Book Bags
  • Folders
  • Notepads
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Erasers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Glue Sticks
  • Calculators

Monetary Contributions Can Also Help Fund

  • Cap/Gowns
  • After School/Summer Camp Programs
  • College Tours
  • Laptops for Unaccompanied Youth Seniors Entering College

Financial donations received by Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) for the Homeless Assistance Program will be used to purchase clothes, shoes, coats, toiletries and other items as needed for students in need. 

Donate In Person or by Mail

Grile Administration Building
Student & Family Support Services
Homeless Assistance Program
1200 S. Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802


McKinney-Vento Liaisons


Contact Families in Transition

Christian Perez Mora, Coordinator

E-mail Christian

IDOE State Coordinator Contact Information

Charie Gibson, IDOE Homeless Education Specialist 

Flora Jones, IDOE Director Student Pathways & Opportunities

IDOE Website -