NEW YORK (WWTI) — The New York Attorney General and New York State Education Department issued new guidance on Tuesday to help support students facing homelessness.
New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa issued guidance to local education agencies on Tuesday, specifically highlighting their legal obligation to secure resources for students experiencing homelessness.
According to the McKinney-Vento Act and New York Education Law section 3209, local education agencies are required to ensure that homeless children and youth have equal access to education.
Under the guidance issued on Tuesday, agencies were reminded of the responsibilities they have to meet these needs, including:
- Ensure children have the opportunity to continue education in their school of origin
- Provide transportation
- Identify and assist children experiencing homelessness
- Ensure children experiencing homelessness are immediately enrolled
- Provide comparable and additional supports
- Maintain a dispute resolution process
- Use federal education funds to support students
“Unfortunately, we know the pandemic is putting more families at risk for homelessness and we want to be sure we are accounting for every homeless student,” said Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “With this guidance, we are supporting our local education authorities as they work to ensure no student falls through the cracks. I thank Attorney General James, her staff, and our educators for their efforts on this issue which is especially important during these challenging times.”
The Office of the Attorney General noted that while the rates of homelessness have increased during the pandemic, identifying children experiencing homelessness and providing them with necessary support has become difficult.
“Our children are our future, and we have a responsibility to ensure they are getting the supports they need and deserve,” said Attorney General James. “Far too often, students experiencing homelessness are left behind, especially in times of crisis. Ensuring our most vulnerable students have access to fundamental educational resources has never been more important, and I thank Commissioner Rosa for her partnership and continued commitment to New York’s students and families.”
More information regarding mentioned legislation and local requirements can be found on NYSED’s website.