McKinney-Vento Supports (Homeless or At-Risk Students)

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The McKinney-Vento Act is designed to address the challenges that homeless children and youths have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. The Olympia School District McKinney-Vento program is designed to assist homeless, at-risk students and their families within the Olympia School District.


This program strives to ensure that students experiencing homelessness are able to enroll as quickly as possible, and that they have the same access to educational opportunities as non-McKinney-Vento students. The McKinney-Vento office supports every school in the Olympia School District. Please see our McKinney-Vento brochure (English, Spanish) for more information.

OSD McKinney Vento Office


Attn: Leslie Gowell 
McKinney Vento Liaison Designee & Support Specialist

111 Bethel Street NE Olympia, WA 98506 
(360) 596-6313

OSD McKinney-Vento Program Supervisor

Ken Turcotte
(360) 596-7530
McKinney Vento District Liaison & Program Administrator


Visit the National Center for Homeless Education for more information about the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.



Defining Homeless

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who would fall under this definition:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason;
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of 
    alternative accommodations;
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals;
  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc);
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations;
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations.
  • The McKinney-Vento Liaison or designee will determine whether a student qualifies for support 
    through, self identification, referral or the OSD Student Housing Questionnaire.

Rights of Students who are Identified as Homeless


  • Once identified as McKinney-Vento eligible
    you have the right to register your child (student) at school even if you do not have full 
    documentation (such as immunization records, utility bill, birth certificate, etc.,) at the time of 

  • Once registered, your student is eligible for immediate enrollment;

  • If it is in their best interest, students who are eligible for services have the right to retain 
    school of origin for the duration of their homelessness or until the end of the school year if they 
    find permanent housing;

  • Depending on the individual circumstances, your student(s) will be provided with transportation to and from with school buses, city bus passes, or gas vouchers;

  • Your student(s) are entitled to free lunch and breakfast without the need to fill out the form;

  • Your student must not be isolated or stigmatized;

  • As noted above, students are eligible for services for the duration of homelessness or the end of 
    the school year if they attain permanent housing;

  • Each school district must have a McKinney- Vento liaison. See contact information at the top of this page.

OSD Student Housing Questionnaire

The OSD Student Housing Questionnaire is provided to all students at the start of each school year, or when enrolling in the district.

OSD Student Housing Questionnaire (English,  Spanish, Vietnamese) Contact liaison for all available translations.

The McKinney-Vento liaison or designee will determine whether a student qualifies for McKinney-Vento supports based on responses to the OSD Student Housing Questionnaire.


Community Resources for Students or Families who are Homeless or who

are Experiencing Severe Financial Hardships

Community resources are subject to availability. Please contact the organization directly for questions about supports or services offered, and for eligibility requirements.

Street Sheet

The "Street Sheet" is a comprehensive list of community resources available to families and individuals in need of supports. The "Street Sheet" is compiled by community group, not the OSD. 

  • Thurston County Food Bank
    220 Thurston Ave. NE,
    Olympia 360-352-8597

  • Community Kitchen (located at Salvation Army Shelter)
    808 Fifth Ave. SE,
    Olympia 360-349-2808

  • Olympia Union Gospel Mission
    413 Franklin St. NE
    Olympia 360-709-9725

  • Food Backpack Program
    Families are able to bring home food bags on Fridays for the weekend. Please contact your school counselor for eligibility and participation questions.


Emergency and Clothing


  • Shoe Bank
    The Masonic Temple has a shoe voucher program for students and their younger siblings in the 3 area school districts: Olympia School District, North Thurston County & Tumwater. To request a shoe voucher, please contact your school counselor.

  • YWCA Other Bank (Personal Hygiene Supplies)
    220 Union Ave. SE, Olympia

  • WEA Children’s Fund
    Members of the Washington Education Association can be reimbursed up to $100/year/student for clothes and school supplies. Please contact your child’s teacher or school counselor for information.

  • Community Youth Services Rosie’s Place (Homeless Teen Drop In Center)
    360-711 State St. NE, Olympia
    +1.360.943.0780 x130

  • Family Support Center
    108 State St. SE, Olympia




  • Salvation Army Shelter
    808 5th Ave. SE, Olympia

  • Safeplace
    Domestic Violence Shelter

  • Emergency Shelter Network
    108 State St. SE, Olympia (located upstairs)


Faith-Based Supports


  • Westwood Baptist
    (360) 866-6888

  • Sacred Heart
    (360) 923-0929. 812 Bowker St SE, Lacey

  • St. Vincent De Paul
    (360) 352-7554. 1021 Boundary St

  • Evergreen Christian
    (360) 352-3410

  • City Gates Ministries/Capital Christian
    (360) 705-0291

  • Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
    (360) 357-3386

  • Catholic Community Services
    (360) 754-4667

  • Church of Living Water
    (360) 754-5830


Other Helpful Supports and Resources


  • 2-1-1
    This is a useful telephone number that provides information on resources and services in the community, such as for physical & mental health, employment support, utility shutoff, eviction notices, etc. This resource is considered by many to have the most up-to-date information about community resources and supports.

  • The South Puget Sound Reading Foundation and First Book
    Free books to needy students. Generally, these books are appropriate for grades K-8. 

  • The Family Support Network Community
    The Family Support Network can be reached by calling +1.360.528.8999.

  • Your School Counselor/Principal
    Your school counselor or principal can sometimes help struggling homeless families with emergency funds for shoes, school items, and basic healthcare needs. Please contact your child's school for more details. School contact information can be found by following this link: Select you child's school and then look up the contact information for the school counselor or principal McKinney-Vento Act