Homeless Assistance (Mckinney-Vento)

  • The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures homeless children and youth have equal access to the same free and appropriate public education, including public preschool education, as provided for other children and youths.

    Lowell Public Schools insures the implementation of McKinney-Vento services with regard to identification, enrollment and attendance, and additional supports when necessary to insure the success of our students.

    Definition of Homelessness

    The McKinney-Vento Act outlines the following dwelling arrangements for students that are homeless:

    • Doubled-up - The student is sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship.

    • Hotels/Motels - The student is living in a hotel or motel.

    • Shelter – The student is living in a shelter.

    • Unsheltered – The student is living in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a campground, a home with no running water or electricity, a car, etc.

    • Unaccompanied Youth – Are youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or court-appointed guardian, including: • Young people who have run away from home • Young people who have been forced to leave their homes • Young people whose parents have left the area and left the student here. 

    Students are entitled to:

    Immediate enrollment and attendance to provide educational stability and avoid separation from school, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.

    Information about a homeless student’s living situation shall be treated as a student education record and cannot be shared with the public, including landlords. 

    School Placement

    School placement determinations must be made based on the best interest of the homeless student. Students may remain in the school of origin (the school from which the student became homeless) until the end of the year in which the student obtains permanent housing unless parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth requests otherwise. 

    Consideration must be made with regard to the impact on achievement, the health and safety of the student, and school placement of siblings, while giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth. 

    Districts must remove barriers to accessing academic and extracurricular activities.


    Homeless students will be provided transportation to and from their school or origin at the request of the parent or guardian or in the case of unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison.

    If the student resides in Lowell the district will provide transportation if needed.

    If the student resides in another district, a method to apportion responsibility and costs must be reached.

    Contact Marlen G. Sahdala at msahdala@lowell.k12.ma.us for questions about transportation.

    Dispute Resolution Process

    The McKinney-Vento Act calls for “procedures for the prompt resolution of disputes regarding the educational placement of homeless children and youth”

    If a dispute arises between the district and parent, guardian or unaccompanied homeless youth, the district homeless liaison must ensure that the student is immediately enrolled in the district in which enrollment is sought pending resolution. Also, the parent, guardian or unaccompanied homeless youth must be provided with a written explanation and be informed of the right to appeal the decision to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    Considerations made regarding enrollment and transportation presume that keeping the student in the school of origin is in the student’s best interest except when contrary to the request of the student’s parent or guardian or unaccompanied youth. Student-centered factors related to achievement, health and safety, and impact of mobility are weighed, while giving priority to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth.

    Lowell Public Schools will provide parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth with needed assistance and support during the dispute resolution process. The district will provide necessary forms as well as the right to appeal and the option to obtain independent information and counsel. We will assist in promptly submitting the appeal. In addition, we will provide written notice in clear, easy-to-understand language detailing the process and decisions.

    The decision of the Commissioner or Commissioner’s Designee shall be final.


Frequently Asked Questions

Important Forms

Contact Us

    Bopha Boutselis

    District Support Specialist
    Office of Equity & Empowerment
    McKinney-Vento Point of Contact
    District Homeless Liaison (Khmer Language Support)

    Email: bboutselis@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-942-1796


    Virginia Geoffroy

    Mckinney-Vento Health Liaison

    Email: vgeoffroy@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-746-1827


    Nancy Humphrey

    McKinney-Vento Family Liaison

    Email: nhumphrey@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-674-2128


    Marlen G. Sahdala

    McKinney-Vento Transportation Liaison (Spanish Language Support)

    Email: msahdala@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-674-2133


    Kiana Vega

    Mckinney-Vento Family Liaison for Unaccompanied Youth (Spanish Language Support)

    Email: kvega@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-674-2175


    Richard Silvio

    McKinney-Vento Family Liaison

    Email: rsilvio@lowell.k12.ma.us
    Phone: 978-674-2165