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

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The Olympia School District McKinney-Vento program is designed to assist homeless and at-risk students and their families within the Olympia School District. The 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-homeless students. Although housed at Madison, the McKinney-Vento office supports every school in the Olympia School District.

Leslie Gowell (Primary contact for assistance and supports)

Open weekdays on days which fall within the OSD School Calendar.

OSD McKinney-Vento Office (Location and Mailing Address)

Madison Elementary School
1225 Legion Way SE
Olympia, WA 98501 (360) 596-6313

The McKinney-Vento Act The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act is Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This legislation ensures that children and youth experiencing homelessness have full and equal access to an appropriate public education and that they experience success in school.

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



Homeless Definition

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act defines homelessness as the following living situations:

  • Shelter, vehicle, campground, tent, etc.

  • Street, 24-hour restaurants, bus stations, etc.

  • Motel

  • Displaced due to natural disaster (hurricane, flood, earthquake, etc.)

  • Temporary placement in foster care or group home

  • Abandoned building, trailer, tent, etc.

  • Doubled up with friends or relatives due to inability to pay for any affordable housing

  • "Couch surfing"

  • "Bounced around" from family member to family member, or one household to another.

  • Unaccompanied youth living on their own


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.


Rights of Students who are Identified as Homeless


  • Once identified as homeless, as per McKinney-Vento, 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.,) available at the time of enrollment.

  • Once registered, your child can begin attending school within 1 or 2 days.

  • If deemed in the best educational interests of the child, the student(s) have the right to stay in the same school for the remainder of the school year, even if you move.

  • 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.

  • The above services continue until the end of the school year in which homelessness ends for that family.

  • Each school district must have a McKinney-Vento liaison. (See OSD McKinney-Vento Contact Info. and Office Hours section at the top of this web 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,  OSPI Multiple Languages)

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 Experincing 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. You may view (and download) the "Street Sheet" at:

  • 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
    Has a resource guide available online at 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 principalMcKinney-Vento Act


OSD McKinney-Vento Program Supervisor

Domenico Spatola-Knoll

Please note that email and voice mail boxes are not usually monitored during weekends or vacations. Please see the OSD Calendar for dates of when Olympia schools are in session.

Download the OSD McKinney-Vento flyer by following this link: