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Publication Date

January 2009


Reprinted in, Mark G. Yudof, et. al., EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND THE LAW (5th ed. 2012). (


The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 (hereinafter, the “McKinney Act”) is the first federal legislation to directly mandate the provision of numerous services to homeless youth. It includes a flexible definition of homelessness, prohibits discrimination against homeless youth by public schools, and mandates the provision of various direct services to homeless students. This Article documents my own story of being a homeless youth in Chicago, IL, and further explains how specific provisions of the McKinney Act helped to guarantee my own personal success. This Article also argues that increasing McKinney Act funding to schools nationwide is a necessary step in expanding opportunities available to homeless youth.

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