Since 2017, Byrne Pelofsky has partnered with Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) to secure funding from the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program via the U.S. Department of Education. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is federal legislation that ensures the educational rights and protections of children and youth experiencing homelessness. Students who don’t have a stable place to live can face a dilemma: Completing high school is a key to escaping housing insecurity, but the instability of being unhoused can disrupt their education. The McKinney Vento Act is a federal law that protects students’ rights to a free public education even if they lack adequate housing.
Byrne Pelofsky has worked closely with Melissa Douglas, KCPS McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison, throughout our partnership with KCPS in securing this federal funding. Melissa works closely with unhoused KCPS students to navigate their options and ensure they are receiving their enrollment rights.
School districts must proactively search for students who need these resources. The Kansas City Beacon recently covered Douglas and her work with unhoused KCPS students. Douglas was quoted in the Beacon saying, “Homelessness is oftentimes hidden. To find the support students need to succeed, families ‘will have to come out of the shadows’ and contact their district for help.”
Since Byrne Pelofsky began our work with KCPS on the McKinney-Vento grant in 2017, we have helped secure $1,200,000 for this specific school district program.