Schoolhouse Link

Every child has a right to a public education, but when your home is in turmoil, it can be overwhelming to navigate school and social services systems. The Sarasota YMCA Schoolhouse Link is here to be your advocate helping students in transition attend and succeed in school. Schoolhouse Link operates under a contract with the Sarasota County School Board and serve as the District's official "homeless liaison".


McKinney-Vento Services

McKinney-Vento Services (McKinney-Vento Act 2001) are provided to students in residential transition to help them enroll, attend and/or succeed in school. In Sarasota County these services are provided through the Schoolhouse Link program, a partnership between the Sarasota Y and the Sarasota County School Board. In addition, the program provides support to the whole family by linking them with essential service providers and community resources.

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, a family is considered to be in transition or homeless if they:

  • Are temporarily "doubled up" with relatives or friends due to financial reasons

  • Are in emergency or transitional shelters

  • Are temporarily in motels, hotels, trailer parks or campgrounds because of finances

  • Are awaiting permanent placement in foster care

  • Are in cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations or abandoned buildings

  • Are migratory children living in these conditions

  • Are "Unaccompanied Youth" - not in the physical custody of the parent or guardian in any of the above situations.

  • Children in transition (or homeless) have the right to:

  • Enroll and attend school no matter where they live or how long they have lived there

  • Have access to the same public education provided to housed children

  • Enroll in school without a permanent address. (Enrollment cannot be delayed due to a lack of residency)

  • Request assistance with transportation to school

  • Have any enrollment disputes heard and resolved while the student continues to attend class


EXTERNAL Resources

Unaccompanied youth face a unique set of challenges when it comes to finding a place to stay, accessing resources or even considering continued education. The resources below are additional places unaccompanied youth can access support. Additionally, Schoolhouse Link has a person dedicated to helping unaccompanied youth in transition.

National Safe Place & National Runaway Switchboard

Legal Tools to End Youth Homelessness

Job Corps

Free Application for Federal Student Aid