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Homeless Services

Being homeless can make it harder to succeed in school. But City Schools can help.

What does it mean to be homeless?

Under U.S. federal law, students who have no fixed, adequate nighttime residence are considered “homeless.” This includes

  • Living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station — or any place not intended as a regular place to sleep for a child, teenager, or adult
  • Living in a motel, hotel, or campground because there’s nowhere else available
  • Living in an emergency or transitional shelter
  • Living with family or friends because of eviction, foreclosure, or other loss of housing

Is doubling up or couch-surfing the same as being homeless?

When students — with or without other family members, parents, or guardians — stay with extended family or friends because of a loss of housing and lack of resources to obtain new, permanent housing, they are considered homeless under the law. This means that they are entitled to and eligible for services provided all other students and families experiencing homelessness.

What will schools do to support homeless youth and families?

Once a school knows a student is experiencing homelessness, staff will 

  • Immediately enroll the student in school. Students in kindergarten to grade 5 can stay at the school they attended before loss of housing or they can transfer to the zoned school serving the neighborhood where temporary housing is located. Middle and high school students can attend a school determined through the district’s school choice process.
  • Arrange for transportation if temporary housing is outside the school’s walk zone.
  • Waive any school fees, including field trip fees or other school-related activities.
  • Provide the student with uniform vouchers.
  • Provide additional supports to make getting to and staying in school possible.

What can a student or family do if they disagree with a decision about school placement or resources?

If a student or family disagrees with City Schools’ determination of eligibility or type of services provided, they may appeal the decision. To start the appeal, the student or family should ask for a formal conference with the school principal. If the student or family still disagree with the decision, they may request a grievance hearing. 

During the appeals process, students have the right to enroll immediately in the closest school that they are eligible to attend or to remain enrolled at the school of origin.