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Identifying Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

HETAC Resources

Identifying Students Without Stable Housing: A Critical First Step

This HETAC tip sheet outlines state education department and school district responsibilities under federal and state law related to identifying children and youth experiencing homelessness, recommends implementation strategies to ensure an effective approach to identification, and shares resources for more information.

It Starts with Identification: Supporting Students with Unstable Housing (archived webinar)

This July 2022 HETAC webinar , cohosted by the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the National Center on Youth Law, explores the importance of identifying students experiencing homelessness, reviews local educational agency (LEA) identification responsibilities under federal and state law, and shares best practice for implementing an effective approach to identification within LEAs and schools.

Other Resources

National Center for Homeless Education: Identification webpage

This National Center for Homeless Education webpage provides informational and practical resources on identifying children and youth experiencing homelessness.

SchoolHouse Connection: Identifying Students Experiencing Homelessness During School Building Closures webpage

This SchoolHouse Connection webpage recommends strategies and practical resources to use to ensure the identification of students experiencing homelessness during school closures that may occur due to a natural disaster, pandemic, or similar reason.

SchoolHouse Connection: Tools to Identify Students Experiencing Homelessness webpage

This SchoolHouse Connection webpage provides informational and practical resources on supporting unaccompanied homeless youth, including their access to education and other needed services and assistance.

Sample Materials

California Department of Education: Model Housing Questionnaire and Instructions for Usage

Under California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 27, school districts must administer a housing questionnaire to all students annually to ensure the identification of children and youth experiencing homelessness. This questionnaire must include an explanation of the rights of students experiencing homelessness. This California Department of Education sample questionnaire can be used by districts as is, or customized to meet local needs, to meet this statutory requirement.

California HETAC: Sample End-of-Year Letter for Students Identified as McKinney-Vento Eligible

While not required under federal or state law, distributing an end-of-year letter to students identified during the school year as McKinney-Vento eligible can be a useful identification strategy. This HETAC sample letter can be used by districts as is, or customized to meet local needs, for this purpose.