Serving Families in Transition (FIT)
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act affords eligible students the rights to immediate enrollment, transportation/busing, automatic enrollment in the free/reduced lunch program, automatic enrollment in Title I services, access to all school-based services for which they qualify, participation in all programs and activities offered to students and families, and the ability to challenge enrollment/school-choice decisions.
Who is eligible for FIT services according to the McKinney-Vento Act?
The term “homeless children and youth” refers to individuals who lack a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence. Under the law, a child may qualify as homeless if he or she is:
- Living in an emergency shelter, domestic violence shelter, or transitional housing. Examples in Missoula might include: Carole Graham Home, Mountain Home Montana, YWCA programs or facilities, the Gateway Program located within Salvation Army on Russell Street, the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative's Family Promise, Hope Rescue Mission (Union Gospel Mission), etc.;
- Living in a motel or hotel;
- Living in a car, park, public place, bus or train station, campground, abandoned building, or other structure not meant for long-term housing;
- Doubled-up with relatives or friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
- Not living with a parent or legal guardian.
How does the McKinney-Vento program work at MCPS?
Missoula County Public Schools employs a Families in Transition (FIT) liaison to advocate for families and to assist them in coordinating support for their students. The FIT liaison works closely with Family Resource Centers (FRCs) or FIT coordinators at each building in the district to assure eligible families receive support. The FIT liaison assists families with immediate school enrollment for homeless students (regardless of missing birth certificates, immunizations, or academic records), arranges for busing or other transportation assistance, and connects students to tutoring services if needed. The FIT liaison will also assist students applying for college with the FAFSA process by sending official letters of eligibility to campus financial aid offices. The FIT liaison collects and distributes information about scholarships available to help our McKinney-Vento students pay for their education.
For more information or assistance with determining eligibility, contact the MCPS FIT liaison:
- Colleen Lehman
- Address: 909 South Avenue West, Missoula, MT 59801
- Phone: (406) 728-2400 ext. 1080
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I access McKinney-Vento services?
If you feel your child or family meets the qualifications to receive services provided by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and your child is currently or will be enrolled in an MCPS school, please contact the FIT liaison at 728-2400 ext. 1080, or call your school FRC or FIT coordinator. You may also fill out the MCPS Student Residency Questionnaire, which you may request from your school secretary or download here: Residency Questionnaire.
For more information about the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, please visit the Montana Office of Public Instruction at McKinney-Vento - Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program.
To learn more about additional community resources in Missoula, please click on the links below.