Each district or charter school should have a designated Homeless Liaison. The district’s or charter school’s Homeless Liaison is identified in MDE-ORG as a contact.
The homeless liaison is important to the MARSS Coordinator because they provide the necessary documentation for students experiencing homelessness. These students are categorically eligible to report as free meal --Economic Indicator 2 -- and are eligible for Title I services. They should be flagged as Homeless in the MARSS file. Without the written, signed and dated documentation, a student cannot be flagged as homeless in MARSS.
A district’s/charter school’s Homeless Liaison must provide certification to the MARSS Coordinators to ensure that the student is eligible to report as Homeless. The documentation may be provided in a spreadsheet or a form. The document needs to be signed and dated by the Homeless Liaison. The date that the student is determined to be homeless is based on when the homeless situation occurred, not when the Homeless Liaison first learned of the homelessness or met with the family. The district’s Homeless Liaison needs to re-evaluate the student at the beginning of the next year to determine if they are still identified as homeless.
Beginning in school year 2016-17, once the student has been identified as homeless, a new enrollment record needs to be created with Homeless Flag = “Y”. The start date should be the initial night of homelessness. The end date can be the last date the student was known to be homeless or the end of the school year. Either way is acceptable; however, a warning message will be generated indicating an earlier record exists in which the student is reported as homeless when a new enrollment record is generated when the student moves into established housing. This warning message can be ignored. Please view the Homeless Student Flag Data Element in the MARSS Manual for more information.
For MARSS reporting, a student identified as homeless is categorically eligible to be reported as “free” in the Economic Indicator data item.Homeless students remain eligible for free meals for the duration of the current school year regardless of where they are living, due to yearlong eligibility. Please see Eligibility Manual for School Meals Determining and Verifying Eligibility for more information.
Districts need to report Economic Indicator data on the EOY files. If any time during the school year the student is eligible for a free or reduced-price meal, the student should be reported as eligible in the EOY MARSS file. Keep in mind that every student marked as eligible because of homelessness must have verification from the homeless liaison on file. This data is used for a federal homeless report and other demographic data analysis.