Homeless Services

Students who are homeless deserve access to a quality education and have the following rights:

  • To be allowed to enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in school activities, even if students do not have a parent or guardian with them or documents such as proof of residency, immunization records, other medical records, school records, or other documents.  Once students are enrolled, the school must obtain records from the previous school.
  • To stay in the school they went to before becoming homeless or whatever school they were enrolled in last (school of origin), even if they move out of the district, if that is feasible.  Students can stay in their school of origin the entire time they are homeless.  Students can also finish the school year in their school if they find permanent housing during the year.
  • To transportation to their school of origin, provided or arranged by the school district, or a joint effort among school districts.
  • To preschool services, free or reduced school meals, services for English Language Learners, special education, Title 1 services, vocational/technical education, gifted and talented services, and before and after school care, as needed.

A student is considered homeless if they meet one of the following criteria:

A child or youth, ages 3-21, who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence,  including:

    1. A child who is sharing the housing of others (includes doubled-up families) due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; is living in a motel, hotel, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; is living in an emergency or transitional shelter; is abandoned in a hospital, or is awaiting foster care placement.
    2. A child who has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for humans beings.
    3. A child who is living in a car, park, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting.
    4. A migratory child/youth who qualifies as homeless because of the living circumstances described above (includes youth who have run away or youth being forced to leave home).

Homeless Students Coordinator

Kim Petersen
Address: 901 Walnut Street, Des Moines, IA
P: 515-313-8212 | F: 515-242-8395 | E: kimberly.petersen@dmschools.org