Bellingham Public Schools

Homeless Support Program

Department Owner: 

The Homeless Support Program serves homeless students enrolled in Bellingham Public Schools.  Services are provided through existing programs and strategies that integrate homeless individuals with non-homeless individuals.  This program is designed to reduce isolation, maximize stability and maintain consistency for this population of children and youth.  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal law that guarantees all children and youth the right to an equal education regardless of their living situation.  Protection under the McKinney-Vento Act extends to those who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

Homeless Support Program Coordinators:

Roxana Parise 
Homeless Support Specialist

Sarah Simpson
Homeless Support Specialist

Information for Parents/Guardians/Youth

Who qualifies for McKinney-Vento (homeless) services?  Children who lack a fixed,regular, and adequate nighttime residence:

  • Sharing the housing of others due to economic hardship (doubled up)
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds due to lack of adequate alternative accomodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Living in a public or private place not designated for humans to live
  • Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory children livingin above circumstances
  • Unaccompanied youth (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian)
  • Children awaiting foster care placement

All homeless students have the right to:

  • School stability - remain at their "school of origin"
  • Immediate enrollment - even without required registration documents
  • Transportation - to "school of origin"
  • Free school meals - all homeless students automatically qualify
    (click here for a complete list of services a homeless student is eligible to receive)

Contact a Homeless Program Coordinator to determine if your child is McKinney-Vento eligible and/or to request services.  The Bellingham School District's Homeless Program Coordinators are Roxana Parise 360.676.6523 and Sarah Simpson 360.676.6524

State Homeless Resources 

National Homeless Resources

  • NAEHCY - National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth is a voice and social conscience for the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness.  NAEHCY accomplishes this through advocacy, partnerships, and education.
  • NCHE - National Center for Homeless Education at SERVE is the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center in the area of homeless education.
  • National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty - Lawyers working to end homelessness.
  • National Network for Youth - is working to create a community of agencies, people and resources to champion the needs of homeless and runaway youth, to ensure that opportunities for growth and development be available to youth everywhere.