Homeless Education Program (HEP)
The School District of DeSoto County and the district’s Homeless Education Program (HEP) are dedicated to removing barriers for school enrollment and providing support for the academic success of students whose families are experiencing homelessness or housing transition.
Our goal is to provide
Hope for the future to ensure each student has the opportunity for quality
Education and to form school and community
Partnerships to strengthen family and student stability.
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Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act reauthorized in 2002 under the No Child Left Behind Act, a family is considered in transition (or homeless) if they and/or their children:
- Lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence
- Share the housing of others due to financial hardship
- Live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, substandard housing due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Abandoned in hospitals
- Have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings
- Are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
- Are Migratory children living in the above stated circumstances
In addition, a student who is not in the physical custody of a parent/guardian and is living in one of the situations listed above may be considered an unaccompanied youth.
Then the student may have the right to:
Enroll in school without proof of residency, immunization, school records, or other documents.
- Choose between the local school where they are living or the school last attended before becoming homeless, when feasible.
- Receive transportation to school
- Attend school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Children cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
- Receive all the school services available to other students.
Eligibility for the McKinney-Vento rights is determined by the District's Homeless Education Program staff and must be renewed each school year. Referrals can be made by calling your child's school or the HEP office, or by completing a Student Residency Form. Forms are available at your child's school office.
Homeless Education Program Staff
Kathy Severson, Homeless Liaison
Jinny Scaefer, Homeless Advocate
Florida Department of Education
Skip Forsythe, Director of Homeless Education Program