Homeless Assistance FAQs
Homeless: What does it mean?
- Someone who doesn’t have a “fixed, regular, or adequate place to live,” including crowding too many people in one apartment.
- Someone who is spending the night in a place not meant for sleeping (like a car or a condemned building).
- Someone who is staying at a temporary living place, such as a shelter or welfare hotel.
What school should you choose?
You have two choices:
- Keep your child in the school your child was attending before you lost housing (school of origin). Your child may continue at the school for as long as you are homeless or until the end of the school year.
- Enroll your child in the school nearest the temporary place where you are currently staying.
Can my child ride the school bus?
Yes. Your child’s school must help you get the transportation needed in order for your child to continue attending the school. Let them know of your situation immediately so they can make arrangements.
What records does the school need about my child?
- School records
- Birth Certificate
- Immunization records
The school must immediately enroll your child even if you can’t produce the records they need right away.
Proof of residency is not required for enrollment of homeless children. However, the school will need an address or some way to contact you. Records will help schools better serve you and your children.
Tips for dealing with the school
Ask to speak with the district’s Title X liaison if you have difficulty enrolling your child. If you are going to enroll a child in a new school, it will be helpful to bring along a letter from the shelter where you are staying, on the shelter’s letterhead, stating that your child is staying there. If you are staying with relatives or in a motel, bring along a letter from your relative or social worker (DSHS or private agency) stating where you and your child are living. However, no school can deny your child admission because you do not have these letters.
Your right to be treated fairly
Your child can participate in all the same school activities as other children:
- Before and after school programs
- School breakfast and lunch
- Special education; bilingual; vocational
- Gifted programs
- The public schools must evaluate your child if he/she has a disability
- School supplies
- Title I programs
If you believe the educational rights of your child have been violated or your child has been discriminated against, you can file a complaint at the school, through the Title X liaison.
- If you are transferring your child, enroll your child in the new school right away.
- Ask the school for transportation if you need it.
- Ask if special tutoring or counseling is available to help make up for lost school time.
- Meet with your child’s teacher regularly to make sure your child is getting every appropriate program.
- Be sure you child attends school every day.
Note to older children
If you are an older youth living away from your parents and do not have permanent housing (maybe you are staying in a shelter or with friends/relatives), these same rights apply to you.
Who do you call if you have questions?
If you have additional questions, please call:
Elizabeth Watson, Coordinator
Homeless Education and Youth Program
Puget Sound ESD
400 SW 152nd Street
Burien, WA 98166-2209
1.800.664.4549, ext. 4031