Transportation Supports for Students Experiencing Homelessness

Transportation to and from school can create stress and additional barriers to education for students and families experiencing homelessness. Districts and schools can ensure that each child is challenged, prepared and empowered by providing transportation solutions to students. Transportation is a key component of educational stability.  

Engagement and Attendance 

  • Developing Effective Transportation Policies and Procedures. The local liaison, transportation director and other district or school administrators positively impact engagement and attendance for students experiencing homelessness with effective transportation policies and procedures. Establishing ongoing communication and clearly assigned responsibilities increase efficient and timely transportation.  
  • Identification of Students Experiencing Homelessness and Available Transportation Services. Staff involved in student transportation, including bus drivers, may review the McKinney-Vento Act and how to identify students experiencing homelessness. The local liaison can assist the parent or guardian of a child or youth experiencing homelessness and any unaccompanied youth in knowing what transportation options are available to them. 
  • Enrolling Students Experiencing Homelessness in Preschool. Students enrolled in preschool when they become homeless can remain enrolled and continue receiving McKinney-Vento services, including transportation. Preschools that do not typically provide transportation services can provide transportation for their students experiencing homelessness.  

Funding Transportation 

A student experiencing homelessness could attend the school of origin but live in another school district. Per the McKinney-Vento Act, if the districts are unable to agree upon a method to transport the student, each district will be responsible for 50 percent of the transportation costs. 

Funds reserved for students experiencing homelessness under Title I, Part A (set-aside funds) may be used to provide services that other students ordinarily do not receive. This includes transportation to and from the school of origin. The local liaison can coordinate with the Title I director to assess the needs of the student experiencing homelessness. Together, they can determine how to meet transportation needs using the Title I, Part A set-aside for students experiencing homelessness. Access the Department’s Students Experiencing Homelessness website for more information.  

Transportation Arrangements 

The mode of transportation provided by the district can increase a student experiencing homelessness access to education and extracurricular activities. Federal law ensures transportation to school and extracurricular activities.   

The transportation chosen considers the age, ability and needs of the student and family.  

Transportation types can include:  

  1. Public transportation;  
  2. Gas cards: Some parents may have working automobiles. Districts may provide a gas card or use a voucher system so that parents can drive their children to and from school. Districts create a system to account for attendance and miles traveled to and from school with the student;  
  3. Taxis; and  
  4. Special education buses.  

If students experiencing homelessness can drive cars or use taxis, the local liaison may consult with the school district transportation director about liability and requirements for background checks for the drivers. 

When there is a transportation dispute, the student should have transportation to and from the school until there is a resolution. The state homeless education coordinator and the state director of transportation are available to provide assistance to students and families experiencing homelessness.   

A family may find permanent housing during the school year. In this case, the student is still eligible for transportation services to and from the school they are attending for the remainder of the school year.  

Related Resources 

Last Modified: 12/5/2023 9:03:34 AM