The McKinney-Vento Homeless Program & Social Services

McKinney-Vento Homeless Program

  • The McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless

    Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (per Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act) defines homeless as follows:

    The term “homeless children and youths”–

    (A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and

    (B) includes–

    (i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals;*

    (ii) children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));

    (iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

    (iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

    If you live in one of these situations you may:

    • continue to attend the school in which you were last enrolled, even if you have moved away from that school’s attendance zone or district, you can receive transportation from your current residence back to your school of origin.

    • qualify automatically for Child Nutrition Programs (free and reduced price lunch and other district food programs).

    • participate fully in all school activities and programs for which you are eligible.

    Please contact our liaison for more information.

Department Contacts

  • To access services, please contact:

    Juanita Hall, M.A.-Counseling
    McKinney-Vento Homeless Program Home/School District Liaison
          *temporarily housed at Gibbs PreK Center  

    Sally Dowis, LMSW 

    Social Services
    936-435-6964 (rolls to cell phone)
           *temporarily housed at the HISD Support & Learning Center/Mance Park Middle School

Social Services

  • We provide support in the following areas:
    • Parent-school relationship development
    • Counseling to parents regarding student discipline
    • Advise parents of Compulsory School Attendance Laws
    • Crisis Counseling
    • Identify students in homelessness situations**
    • Child abuse and neglect workshops for campus personnel
    • Student-Parent advocacy in schools
    • Parenting skills and financial responsibility training
    • Social Service agency referrals
    • Consultation with parents regarding a child’s academic performance, behavior and needs
    • Access specific community resources to address individual student needs
    • Provide support services to help students:
      • Identify causes of their problems
      • Accept responsibility for their actions
      • Develop decision-making skills
      • Overcome crisis
      • Enhance their self-concept
      • Resolve conflicts without violence
      • Increase motivation
      • Respect cultural and physical differences
      • Improve their school attendance
    • A clothing room is kept with minimal clothing for emergency purposes.
    **Classification of "Homelessness" or otherwise "Housing Insecure" 
    Huntsville ISD has a large number of students across the district who are classified as "homeless" (see official definition above).  Once a student is identified to be in a homeless situation, the Social Services personnel immediately work to remedy that residential situation.  However, even though the residential situation is resolved, the student will remain classified as "homeless" status in our system for proper tracking and needed services for the remainder of the school year.  
    The term "homeless" sounds alarming, but it helps to understand that "homeless" designation encompasses a number of non-permanent residential or housing insecure situations.  These living situations include students who live:
    • on the streets
    • under bridges;
    • in tents;
    • in cars;
    • in RV parks;
    • in local shelters; 
    • in inns/hotels/motels; 
    • "couch-hopping" or "surfing" with friends - frequently moving between them;  
    • with a non-biological adult who is not their legal parent(s);
    • "doubled-up" with other families.
    **The "doubled-up" situation represents the largest percentage of the district's current "homeless" population.**
    The HISD Social Services personnel serve a number of clients annually who are in great need and emphasize, that most of the "homeless" students are in much safer and stable living environments once identified than some students who are NOT classified as "homeless."  The district appreciates the interest shown by our community and the outpouring of love and generosity to help HISD provide support and care for our neediest students and families.  
    Examples of Items Needed Year-Round:
    • Toilet Paper
    • Diapers
    • Personal Hygiene Items
    • Gift Cards for:
      • Gas
      • Local Grocery Stores
      • Local Fast Food restaurants
    Urgent Needs - Items Currently Needed:
    CLICK on this LINK to see the Urgent Items needed at this time.
    (Examples - Electricity/Utilities Payment Assistance; Residential/Rental Deposits; Shelter fees; Car Repair; Transportation Services; Medication/Prescription Assistance, License/Certification fees; etc.)

How can YOU help?

  • Make A Donation
    If you'd like to support HISD Social Services, we gladly accept cash, check, or gift card donations.  
    If writing a check, please make it payable to "Huntsville ISD."
    Designate "HISD Students" or "HISD Social Services" in the check memo section.
    Please Deliver or Mail to:
    Huntsville ISD
    Attention: Robin Swackhamer
    441 FM 2821 East
    Huntsville, TX 77320