Information for Homeless Families

Ensuring that all students have the resources necessary to obtain a successful education.

What is the purpose of McKinney Vento Homeless Status?

Fairfax County Public Schools is committed to providing support for our students who are experiencing homelessness. The purpose of Mckinney-Vento homeless status is to ensure that students in temporary living situations have the resources necessary to obtain a successful education.

The FCPS Homeless Liaison's office is responsible for ensuring that homeless students are identified, enrolled, and receive equitable access to high quality education and support services.

Who qualifies for homeless status under McKinney-Vento?

Individuals living in inadequate or temporary housing situations, such as emergency or transitional shelters, motels, hotels, trailer parks, campgrounds, or those awaiting foster care placement. This also includes students abandoned in hospitals or living in cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings. Additionally, students who are doubled up with relatives or friends, as well as migratory students or youth, are eligible for assistance.

Under McKinney-Vento, homeless unaccompanied youth are defined as school-aged individuals who are not under the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian. These youth reside in inadequate or temporary settings, which may include doubling up with relatives or friends, staying in emergency or transitional shelters, motels, hotels, campgrounds, cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings.

Contact our office: 571-423-4332 or email [email protected] for assistance.

Fairfax County Coordinated Services Planning (CSP)

CSP provides information, referral, linkage, and advocacy to public and private human services available to Fairfax County residents. Through partnerships with community-based organizations and other Fairfax County agencies, CSP assists callers with the following services: basic needs, financial assistance, health care services, and referrals to services and resources. Shelter referrals are made through CSP.

Note: Call Fairfax County Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) first for help with emergency housing, health care, financial assistance, and other human service needs at 703-222-0880

What Families and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Need to Know

  • Students experiencing homelessness have the right to attend school, regardless of a permanent address.
  • Enrollment cannot be denied due to lack of immediate school records.
  • Students may be eligible for transportation services to and from school.
  • Students can either remain in their original school or local school to where the child is sleeping at night, based on their best interest.
  • Students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch.
  • Students have the right to participate in extracurricular activities and eligible federal, state, or local programs. Transportation may be available for these activities.

Homeless Student Referral Form

This form is used to identify and support homeless students in FCPS.

Free and Reduced Lunch Procedures

Homeless students are entitled to Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch and DO NOT need to fill out the regular application. To obtain meals, please e-mail the student’s name, ID number, and school name to the Homeless Liaison’s Office to [email protected] 

The Homeless Liaison Office will assess the request and if approved process it with Food Services. Please do not contact Food Services directly; the request must be done through the homeless program.

Transportation Procedures

FCPS will provide transportation assistance for homeless students so that the student may remain at his or her school of origin. It takes three to five working days for transportation arrangements to be put in place. Once transportation is set up the parent and/or guardian is called and advised of the start date and time of the transportation. 

To obtain transportation assistance, please e-mail the following information to [email protected] 
•    Student’s name and ID# 
•    Name and address of the school that the student will attend 
•    Address where the student is to be picked up 
•    Name and contact number for the parent and/or guardian 

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in partnership with other Fairfax County departments and agencies offers services and programs for grandparents and other family members raising children in the place of a parent.

How to Get Involved

There are several ways your organization can get involved in helping homeless students and their families. For more information about how to support one of these programs, please contact the Homeless Liaison Office at 571-423-4332 or email [email protected] 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Weekend Food Backpack Program: Provide non-perishable, kid-friendly foods to be sent home with students identified as having a need for additional food on weekends and during school breaks. Support an existing food pantry. Conduct a food drive to provide healthy snacks for students who are hungry and without a snack for the day.
  • Coats for Kids: Provide financial support to FCPS’ annual coat distribution to ensure students who need a coat receive one. Collect new coats, mittens, hats, and scarves for students who otherwise would go without these essential items.
  • Back-To-School Basics: Conduct a backpack or scientific calculator drive or make a financial contribution to ensure FCPS students start the school year with the supplies they need to succeed.
  • Housing for Homeless Youth: Partner with Alternative House, a local nonprofit organization offering housing assistance to ensure homeless, unaccompanied youth are supported while they attend school and work toward graduation.
  • College-Bound Homeless Youth: Provide support in the form of financial assistance, laptops, and other necessities to support homeless youth as they prepare for higher education.
  • Store Cards: Donate gift cards that families can use to purchase the items they need the most (groceries, clothing, gas).
  • Mentoring and After-School Tutoring: Volunteer in a tutoring program or mentoring program to provide much needed support to children who are homeless or who have been identified as being in need of extra help.
  • Advocacy: Volunteer or participate in a community program or event that supports countywide efforts to prevent and end homelessness.