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Disaster Relief and Eligibility for Free School Meals

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act covers students who become homeless due to natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding. Students from families who have had to temporarily leave their homes and relocate to another area due to flooding may be eligible to receive free school meals. Each public school district's homeless liaison will determine, on a case-by-case basis, if a student qualifies for free school meals under the McKinney-Vento Act.

Please contact your district's homeless liaison or one of the DPI Homeless Coordinators listed below for additional information regarding the McKinney-Vento Act.

  • Kristine Nadolski, State Education for Homeless Children and Youth Coordinator, (608) 267-7338
  • Karen Rice, State Education for Homeless Children and Youth Coordinator, (608) 267-1284

USDA Guidance Memos

Homeless Students

You may also find additional guidance regarding homeless students at the School Nutrition Team's Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications and Eligibility webpage. The guidance permits school officials to accept documentation that students are homeless from the local educational liaison or directors of homeless shelters where students reside. Documentation to substantiate free meal eligibility must consist of the student's name or list of names, effective date(s), and the signature of the local educational liaison or the director of the homeless shelter. This documentation is acceptable in lieu of a free school meal application.

Additional Resource on Disasters

  • Salvaging Food After a Flood - The Institute of Child Nutrition provides guidelines for child nutrition personnel on how to properly salvage food and which foods cannot be salvaged after a flood affecting the child nutrition operation.
  • Reopening Your School Kitchen After a Flood - NFSMI fact sheet describing steps the child nutrition manager can take to ensure the safety of food following an emergency such as a flood, including supervising the cleaning and sanitizing of the kitchen and equipment.