A multiracial group of elementary school children and their teachers walking and talking in a school hallway.

Find a Homeless Liaison

The homeless liaison directory is designed as a resource for educators, youth-serving professionals, and parents or caregivers find the homeless liaison in their school. The directory serves as a connection and a starting point to collaborate and learn more about how to best support and provide needed services to McKinney-Vento students. Our hope and intent are this directory will assist you in coordinating services for students and their families experiencing homelessness.

Role of the Liaison

Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act all Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) must designate an appropriate staff person to serve as the homeless liaison to help students and their families who are eligible under McKinney-Vento. LEAs include public school districts, charter schools, cyber charter schools, intermediate units, and comprehensive career and technical centers. The LEA homeless liaison is a vitally important role responsible for ensuring and increasing opportunities for full participation in school and related activities including:

Identification and Reporting

McKinney-Vento students are identified by liaison and school personnel through outreach and coordination activities with other entities and agencies.

Immediate Enrollment

McKinney-Vento students receive immediate enrollment and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in schools within the district.

Referrals to Early Childhood Services

McKinney-Vento students and families experiencing homelessness have access to and receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Early Head Start and Head Start programs, early intervention services under Part C of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, and other preschool programs administered by the school district.

Referrals for Health, Housing and other Basic Needs

McKinney-Vento students and families experiencing homelessness receive referrals to health care, dental, mental health, substance abuse, housing, and other appropriate services as needed and within the community.

Communication with Parents and Guardians

The parents or guardians of McKinney-Vento students are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children, and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.

Communication and Support with Unaccompanied Youth

Assist with school enrollment, provide access to opportunities to meet the same challenging State academic standards as other children and youth; and inform them of their status and rights as independent students under the Higher Education Act of 1965 for post-secondary education opportunities.

Outreach and Awareness

Public notice of the educational rights of McKinney-Vento students is disseminated in locations frequented by families and youth experiencing homelessness, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and soup kitchens, in a manner and form understandable to parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth.

Dispute Resolution Support

Provides immediate enrollment of students during a dispute; explains the dispute resolution process to families, and provides support on how to use the process including, informing families of the basis of their decision regarding enrollment or school selection, notifying families of their right to remain in their school of choice pending resolution of the dispute, and explaining the procedures for challenging the decision of the LEA.

Transportation Support

Parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness are fully informed of all transportation services available to McKinney-Vento students, including transportation to the school of origin, and are assisted in accessing transportation.

Professional Development and Staff Training

School personnel providing services to McKinney-Vento students receive professional development, training and other supports.

excited small group of high school students working on their project

Data, reporting, and monitoring

The McKinney-Vento Act requires schools to identify and count students experiencing homelessness as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Identification of students experiencing homelessness under McKinney-Vento is a yearlong process.

School staff, administrators, and teachers should all be trained in how to identify students experiencing homelessness. If they believe they know a student who has become homeless, they inform the homeless liaison for their LEA. All LEAs are monitored on a three-year cycle to ensure they are in federal and state McKinney-Vento Act compliance.

Each program year, the PDE gathers data statewide from education and community agencies to identify the number of children and youth experiencing homelessness served by Pennsylvania’s ECYEH Program (unique, unduplicated count). The data includes children under the age of five, and youth enrolled in prekindergarten through grade 12.

Annual data reports include ECYEH Program Counts by Reporting Entities and ECYEH Program Counts by County and are available on PDE’s website.

Reporting and Monitoring Support Training Videos and Materials

Reviewing ECYEH and Homeless Reporting

In this recorded training Pennsylvania’s ECYEH Program state evaluators, from Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3, review what the annual ECYEH evaluation is, what data are collected, and who and where such data come from.

This training also includes a review of data collection and entry into the online ECYEH data system and provides helpful introductory information for new Homeless Liaisons or other LEA staff wanting to learn about the reporting, data collection, and evaluation for the Pennsylvania’s ECYEH Program.

View Reviewing Your ECYEH and Homeless Reporting video

View PDF of PPT Presentation

Understanding and Using your ECYEH LEA Profile

The LEA Profile is a new tool created by the Pennsylvania ECYEH and American Rescue Plan- Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) contracted state evaluators from Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 to assist LEAs in enhancing services provided to students experiencing homelessness. Additionally, a “Questioning the Data Guide” document has been created to assist LEAs in examining their student data to assure connection to LEA programming and program collaboration across funding sources that best serve the needs of the students. This type of data examination is a focus of interest for the United States Department of Education.

In this recorded training, LEAs will have the opportunity to examine their own Profile using the Questioning the Data Guide and engage in conversations with other LEAs regarding best practices. For LEAs receiving ARP funds, the Profile can assist them in assuring their ARP goals align with student needs to support positive outcomes. For non-ARP LEAs, the profile can assist the LEA in supporting positive student outcomes. Furthermore, the Profile can assist LEAs in preparing for monitoring and reporting on their homeless student population.

View Understanding and Using your ECYEH LEA Profile video

View PDF of PPT Presentation

View Questioning the Data Guide

Featured Resources

ECYEH Data Overview Infographic

Childhood Homelessness in Pennsylvania, 2022 report

This report summarizes data on the subset of children and youth who are served by homeless housing programs in Pennsylvania.

United For ALICE Pennsylvania

In partnership with the United Way of Pennsylvania, the statewide project United for ALICE, is exploring Pennsylvanians who work, but struggle to survive day-to-day. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and represents data reshaping the dialogue on financial hardship for both individuals and families and its outcomes for children.

Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT

The Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT® Data Center in partnership with the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children features 130 child well-being indicators related to education, poverty, health, and youth risk factors. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children has also created county-based “State of the Child 2020” profiles that provide a snapshot of each county’s data, alongside statewide data and information on counties with similar geographic profiles.

McKinney-Vento 101

The federal McKinney-Vento Act ensures educational rights, protections, and services for homeless children and youth. Various living arrangements meet the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless therefore qualifying children or youth as eligible for services under the Act. Under McKinney-Vento, students are considered to be experiencing homelessness if they lack a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”

This can look like:

  • Living in inadequate and substandard housing, which can be infested or lacking heat, water, electricity, or a working kitchen or bathroom.
  • Living in a hotel or motel, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
  • Living in a shelter or transitional housing.
  • Living in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a car or abandoned building, public spaces, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
  • Living “doubled up” which means temporarily sharing another person’s housing due to a lack of housing or economic hardship. This is a common living situation for many students experiencing homelessness.

A student’s housing status is recorded based on their first reported experience of homelessness during the school year.

Source: McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2).

Featured Resources

McKinney-Vento 101 Training Video

The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) operates the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. In this NCHE webinar, presenters will provide a high-level overview of the educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness under Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.


These two-step checklists from SchoolHouse Connection provide liaisons with a framework to ensure students are identified as soon as possible and includes strategies, next steps and considerations for after they’ve been identified as homeless.

Determining Eligibility

This National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) brief provides a step-by-step guide for making determinations of McKinney-Vento eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Immediate Enrollment

This NCHE brief covers common enrollment barriers experienced by students in homeless situations,  key school enrollment provisions , and strategies for ensuring the immediate school enrollment and full school participation of McKinney-Vento students.

Enrollment of Students – Students Living with a Resident Adult other than a Parent

This PDE Basic Education Circular (BEC) provides guidance regarding public school enrollment procedures for resident and non-resident children including homeless children and youth, children and youth who are “awaiting foster care placement” and “unaccompanied homeless youth.

Allowable Activities Under McKinney-Vento Funding

This NCHE brief outlines the 16 authorized activities local education agencies (LEAs) may use with their McKinney-Vento funds.

Dispute Resolution

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has developed procedures to govern the resolution of disputes regarding enrollment, school selection, homeless status and complaints of non-compliance with legal requirements pertaining to the education for homeless children and youths.

Title I Homeless Set-Aside Funding

This Title I Homeless Set-Aside Funding NCHE brief examines how Title I, Part A intersects with the McKinney-Vento Act program, and strategies for collaboration between the Title I, Part A and McKinney-Vento programs for serving students experiencing homelessness.

McKinney-Vento Act: Quick Reference