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Homeless Children and Youth Services at DCPS

Smiling children in a classroom

DCPS is committed to serving all students residing in the District of Columbia, including homeless children and youth.

A homeless student is defined as a child without a regular, fixed, and adequate nighttime residence and are subsequently:

  • Sheltered — living in emergency or transitional shelters,
  • Hotel/Motel — living in hotels, motels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
  • Doubled Up — living in a shared housing situation due to loss of housing or economic hardship.
  • Unsheltered — living in any other non-permanent housing not covered above (i.e. living on the streets, in abandoned buildings, cars, substandard housing, etc.)
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above; and
  • Unaccompanied youth, including youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, who qualify as homeless because they live in circumstances, described above.

Homeless Students’ Rights

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 2001 as reauthorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, requires all school districts to provide homeless children and youth, including unaccompanied youth, a free and appropriate education.

The DCPS Homeless Children and Youth Program (HCYP) works with homeless students, families, schools, shelters and community organizations to ensure their educational rights are protected. These rights include:

  • The right to immediately enroll. Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to rapid enrollment into school even if they are missing school or health records, birth certificates and proof of residency. Please contact the HCYP if there are questions or concerns about residency.
  • The right to remain in the school of origin. The school of origin is defined as “the school that a child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled, including a preschool.”. The student has the right to attend the school of origin for the duration of homelessness, and until the end of the academic year in which the student becomes permanently housed.
  • The right to immediately enroll in the local (in-boundary) school. A parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth can request to enroll in the local school determined by the current temporary residence. The right to immediate enrollment is NOT extended to application schools. You can find the in-boundary school by typing your current temporary address into the DCPS Enrollment Boundary Information System (EBIS): http://dcatlas.dcgis.dc.gov/schools/
  • The right to receive a best interest placement. Presume that keeping the student in the school of origin is in the student’s best interest. Best interest placements are determined by the impact of mobility on achievement, attendance concerns, safety of the child or youth, the impact of the commute on education, special education needs and seat capacity, and the school placement of siblings. Best interest placements are made by the HCYP Manager and the appropriate Instructional Superintendent.
  • Confidentiality regarding disclosure of homeless status. Only the registrar, school-based homeless liaison, principal and/or the individual that the family in transition disclosed to, should be made aware of the family’s homeless status.
  • Provision of transportation/uniform assistance. School-based Homeless Liaisons will request transportation (via SmarTrip card) and uniform assistance through the Homeless Children and Youth Program.

How to Get Help/Support

Contact your school’s School-based Homeless Liaison.

  • Each school has an identified school-based homeless liaison who receives training on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This staff member is responsible for protecting the rights of students experiencing homelessness and providing needed supports.
  • If a homeless child or youth is having trouble enrolling in school, please contact the Homeless Children and Youth Program at 202-576-9502. The HCYP is available to assist DCPS children and youth and their families who are experiencing homelessness regarding educational issues.

Contact the Homeless Children and Youth Program

Tierra Washington, Homeless Children and Youth Program Manager
LEA Homeless Liaison
Email: [email protected]
Contact Phone: (202) 576-9502

Timothy Durant Jr, Homeless Children and Youth Program Analyst
Email: [email protected]
Contact Phone: (202) 309-5363

Program Email: [email protected]

If you are in need of emergency shelter during or after work hours, please contact:

Virginia Williams Family Resource Center
920 Rhode Island Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 546-0017
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM and Friday, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Services: Intake center for all emergency shelters, community resources, public benefits, case management.

Hypothermia/Emergency Shelter Hotline
Phone Number: (202) 399-7093 or 211

  • Notes: When the temperature falls below 32° Fahrenheit between November 1 and March 31, all people who are homeless must be housed in the District. After 3:30 p.m. and on weekends, during extreme temperature alerts (any hour), families should call the Shelter Hotline for transportation to the DC General Family Shelter or other available family shelter. The Shelter Hotline is operated by the United Planning Organization (UPO).
  • The Homeless Shelter Directory provides a list of shelters and various resources.

Emergency Shelter Points of Contact

Kia Williams
Virginia Williams Family Resource Center Program Manager
DC Department of Human Services
Email: [email protected]

Ramona Thomas
Team Lead | Community Liaison Specialist
Community Outreach Response and Engagement Team
DC Department of Human Services
Email: [email protected]
(202) 698-4186 (office)
(202) 403-7006 (mobile)

COVID-19 Supports

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Resources

Community Resources