Welcome to the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, also known as Title IX, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (as amended in 2015).  The purpose of this program is to ensure that every child and youth experiencing homelessness has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to their peers living in stable housing.

Educating children and youth in Montana who are experiencing homelessness presents many unique challenges due to the nature of our state.  Most of our school districts are small and rural, with dedicated staff members filling multiple roles.  Our communities have few resources or services designed to meet the needs of these families and youth, such as emergency shelters, transitional housing, or soup kitchens.  Despite these challenges, our educators and communities work tirelessly to meet the needs of Montana's most vulnerable children.

Data on the number of homeless students identified by Montana school districts is available through the Montana longitudinal student data warehouse (GEMS).  This information is updated at the end of each school year.  For current information contact the individual district homeless liaisons.


Resources for Families & Students

Laws, Regulations & Guidance

Federal Laws

State Laws

Federal Guidance

State Guidance 

Professional Development Opportunities

ESSA requires each school district to appoint a staff member to serve as a “homeless liaison.” The designated staff person must have the capacity to perform the duties of the liaison. ESSA, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9102(g)(1)(J)(ii) Liaisons are required, under ESSA, to obtain professional development to assist them in improving “identification of homeless children and youths” and to “heighten the awareness of…specific needs in the education of homeless children and youths.” ESSA, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9102(b)(5)

Montana’s State ESSA Plan further outlines the requirements for professional development for liaisons serving public school districts. All liaisons are required to complete three (3) hours of professional development on a yearly basis. Liaisons serving districts that have received a McKinney-Vento subgrant from the OPI are required to complete seven (7) hours of professional development on a yearly basis.

The OPI recommends that liaisons complete at least one (1) hour of training on topics specifically related to homelessness. The remaining hours may include topics that are related to the “specific needs” of homeless children and youths. Liaisons should keep copies of all renewal units or certificates of completion as these may be requested by the OPI during a monitoring or in the event of a dispute.

Districts may choose from a wide variety of professional development opportunities. However, the OPI recommends the training options below as these are provided at no cost and have been vetted by OPI staff as complying with the requirements of ESSA.

Resources for Districts

Scholarships & Financial Aid


ARP-HCY Information and Guidance

OPI Staff are here to help:

Justine Guthrie, State Homeless Education Coordinator,  406.410.4098


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