Homeless Education Assistance Resource Team (HEART)
About the Homeless Education Assistance Resource Team (HEART)
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a United States federal law written as a legislative response to homelessness. It has been reauthorized several times and it was recently amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. These very important federal laws protect the educational rights of students (PreK-12th grade) who have lost housing and are experiencing homelessness. The goal is to remove barriers that might prevent students experiencing homelessness from enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.
Students experiencing housing instability (whether residing with a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or unaccompanied children and youth) are those who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes sharing the housing of other persons “doubled-up” due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar situation; living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; living in emergency or transitional shelters; abandoned in hospitals; living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings. Migratory children and youth living in circumstances described above also qualify for McKinney-Vento Homeless Education services.
HOW CAN HEART HELP ELIGIBLE SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN AND YOUTH?
- Access to school supplies and uniform items
- Coordination of transportation to school of origin (certain rules apply)
- Referrals to school-based and community-based services (e.g.; school social work services, family counseling services, medical, dental, mental health, and social services referrals)
Did You Know?
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Data
Total number of students enrolled in the BCPS during the 2019-2020 school year was 267,970. Of those students, 5,094 were identified as homeless as follows:
- 408 (8%) resided in shelters
- 3,922 (77%) were doubled-up (sharing the housing of others due to economic necessity)
- 306 (6%) resided in a car, park, campground, bus or other public place
- 458 (9%) resided in a hotel or motel
Of the 5,094 students identified as homeless, they attended school at the following levels: 3.5% Pre-School; 54.5% Elementary School; 20% Middle School and 22% High School. Of the total number of students experiencing homelessness, 354 (7%) were unaccompanied homeless students (meaning they did not reside with a parent or legal guardian). Of those, 258 were in high school of which 70% were high school seniors.
(Source: Florida Department of Education SY19-20 Survey 5 Federal State Indicator format matched to Student Demographics)