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Service for Homeless Students

A homeless student is one who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This includes students who are staying in transitional or emergency shelters, campgrounds, motels, sharing housing with other families due to a loss of housing or an inability to afford housing, awaiting foster care, abandoned in a hospital, staying in a substandard housing or living in places not ordinarily used for sleeping and students who have run away or have been thrown out of their homes. A homeless student may stay in the same school all year, if feasible, even is he/she moves, or may enroll in the school serving his/her temporary address.

Homeless students are automatically eligible to participate in the school meals program, instructional services through Title I, and other district services intended to support academic success such as tutoring and transportation to the school if best interest. Please contact the school principal, family school liaison, or Homeless Services office (816) 521-5300 for further information.

Main Program Office

Board of Education Building
201 N. Forest Ave                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Independence, MO 64050
(816) 521-5300 (816) 521-5664 (fax)
Schedule: Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Program Contacts

McKinney-Vento Liaison:  Nicole Sequeira (816) 521-5346  nicole_sequeira@isdschools.org

Homeless Case Manager:  Angie Schnetzer (816) 213-3233  angie_schnetzer@isdschools.org



Program Goals

* Identify and meet the needs of students in homeless situations to maximize their success in school and minimized disruption of their education.
* Provide support and resources, including transportation, to maintain consistency and continuity in the educational process for students in homeless circumstances.
* Provide full access to educational programs and opportunities for homeless students that housed students receive.
* Engage parents and other adult caretakers in the supporting the educational success of students in homeless situations.
* Coordinate services and supports for homeless students with community agencies and neighboring school districts.

Program Services Include

Services and supports are available to students and their families so that every child achieves to his or her potential!

* Immediate enrollment in school and removal of barriers to enrollment and participation – for example, obtaining replacement birth certificates and immunization records.
* Transportation to and from school, and for extra-curricular activities when feasible. Transportation is also available for families to attend conferences and school events.
* School supplies, backpacks, school clothes and other daily living and enrichment items.
* Funds to replace library and text books lost due to homelessness and to purchase books for homeless students to own.
* Activity and field trip fees.
* Tutoring to help students catch up and stay current.
* Limited scholarships for Kids Safari and Early Education programs.
* Case management, support services, and on-site mental health counseling.

Who can we help?

Children and youth in temporary housing situations may be eligible for services and have certain legal rights if they are:

* living with a friend, relative or someone else because they lost their home or can’t afford a home, or are runaways;*
* staying in a motel or hotel;*
* living in an emergency or transitional shelter or a domestic violence shelter;
* staying in substandard housing;*
* living in a car, park, public place, abandoned building or bus or train station;
* awaiting foster care placement;
* living in a campground or an inadequate trailer home;
* abandoned in a hospital;
* living in a runaway or homeless youth shelter.

Note: * Consideration of each individual case, along with the permanency of the situation, may be needed to determine if students in these circumstances are homeless.

A True Homeless Experience - Homeless Services Coalition of Greater KC

A 17-year-old female is living in a homeless shelter with her two children who are thirteen months old and three months old. She is living in a homeless shelter due to the father of the two children being incarcerated and leaving her with nothing. She has a criminal history; therefore, she is unable to receive state and/or federal aid to help with her and her children’s situation. This young mother has no where to go and no one to turn to in her time of need. She has no other option than to raise her children in a shelter. Even though her criminal history is minor, she has no way of paying this debt. It is difficult for her to hold a job due to her children and not being able to afford adequate daycare services. She is trapped in a cycle with no end in sight.

A mother and her two children were homeless–living in a stolen car under a bridge in the middle of the winter. She had fled from a domestic violence situation and had to steal a car to flee from her abuser. She took her five-year-old child and three-month-old baby with her so that they would not be left behind with her abuser. She was unable to find a job; therefore, she felt that her only other option was prostitution. She had to make money somehow in order to buy gas to keep the car running to provide heat for her and her children. She had a criminal background; therefore, she was unable to receive state and/or federal aid to help her start a new life with her children away from domestic violence.

A mother and her four children with one on the way were living from shelter to shelter or with friends for short periods of time. They did not have a permanent residence due to the mother’s history of criminal activity; therefore, the mother was not eligible to receive state and/or federal aid to help her get back on her feet and out of her homeless situation. Due to the fact that this family was homeless and was living from place to place, the mother ended up giving birth to her baby in a hotel bathtub. Her eight-year-old daughter delivered the baby. The mother chose not to go to the hospital to deliver the baby in fear that hospital employees would call the Division of Family Services and that DFS would take her children away from her.

How can community members help?

The Independence School District established a Homeless Benevolence Fund in 2005 to help with “quality of life” needs such as those listed below. Since then the Fund has received many generous donations from individuals and organizations like the Woman’s Civic Club of Independence, MO.
The Woman’s Civic Club has also generously provided handmade tote bags with hygiene kits for students to start the school year!
When no other resources can be found to meet the need, Benevolence Fund charitable donations are used for things like:

* Cap & Gown Expenses
* Yearbooks
* School pictures
* Recreational field trips
* Prom/Homecoming outfits
* Emergency assistance

Charitable contributions may be made to the “Independence School District” with “Homeless Benevolence Fund” in the memo line. Please contact Macha Greenleaf-Maple at 521-5300 ext.10036 for additional information.

Other ways you can help?

* Participate in back-to-school efforts and holiday giving.
* Contact the principal or family school liaison at your neighborhood school.
* Partner with community organizations to serve homeless families.
* Advocate for affordable housing in our community.
* Contact the district at 521-5300 for ideas!
* Spread the word about educational rights for homeless students!

Area Resources

Homeless Hotline – 816-474-4599 & 816-842-1199

Available emergency shelter space across the Metro.

Hope House Domestic Violence Shelter and Services – 816-461-4188

Hillcrest Transitional Housing – 816-461-0470

Community Services League – 816-254-4100

Salvation Army Crossroads Shelter – 816-461-1093

Emergency shelter and support services (shower, evening meal, mail)

Lunch Partners, Center Branch Remnant Church, 709 W. Maple, Independence, MO; 816-254-6040

Free, hot lunches available for the hungry, Monday – Friday 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM. No questions asked.

Food truck every Wednesday at 10:00 AM – get in line starting at 7:00 AM at the old Furr’s Cafeteria parking lot and get a number. No questions asked.

United Services Community Action Agency – 816-833-4333

Homeless Case Management

American Red Cross – 816-931-8400
Assistance for families who have experienced a natural disaster or house/apartment fire.

Division of Family Services – 816-325-5800

Food Stamps, Medicaid

Area School District Homeless Coordinators

Click here for  more information


Legal Rights and Advocacy

Missouri’s List of Frequently Asked Questions


Housing Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City


Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Facts About Serving Homeless Children


National Center for Homeless Education


The Center provides research, resources, and information enabling communities to address the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth


The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), a national grassroots membership association, serves as the voice and the social conscience for the education of children and youth in homeless situations. NAEHCY connects educators, parents, advocates, researchers, and service providers to ensure school enrollment and attendance, and overall success for children and youth whose lives have been disrupted by the lack of safe, permanent, and adequate housing. NAEHCY accomplishes these goals through advocacy, partnerships, and education.

National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty


Issues briefs and advocacy related to homelessness.