Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH)

Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH)

Al B. Quarles, Administrator & Region 1 Coordinator

Phone: 215-400-6045    |    Fax: 215-400-4174


The main objectives of Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) are to inform the School District of Philadelphia of its educational responsibilities to students and families experiencing homelessness, to increase awareness about the needs of those experiencing homelessness, to reveal and overcome possible educational barriers, to explain current legislation and policies, and to provide practical advice to those working with students in this experience.

* For letters detailing student rights under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act: click HERE

* To access the Homeless Student Identification Form: click HERE

* For our Staff List & Contact Information: click HERE

Admission/Transfer Policy


The McKinney–Vento Homeless Act, now a part of the Improving America’s Schools Act, (Public Law 103-382), and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, guarantees a free and appropriate public education for all homeless children and youth. BEC 42 U.S.C. &11301 outlines procedures for deciding school placement, enrolling students, and determining fiscal responsibility. Federal and state laws make our responsibility clear. With over 9,000 homeless children currently attending Philadelphia public schools, we must provide appropriate academic support and services. Please familiarize yourself and your staff, including counselors, teachers, secretaries, NTA’S and others with the following school admission and transfer procedures.

  • A child whose family becomes homeless may remain in the school he/she was attending prior to becoming homeless.
  • If it is feasible, a student may transfer to a school if it is closer to the shelter.
  • The receiving school may not prevent or delay the enrollment of a homeless child by requiring proof of residency. The school may seek written confirmation of shelter residency from the shelter director, but may not refuse a child admission pending such confirmation.
  • Homeless children living more than one mile from the school should be given free SEPTA Student Day Passes (see SEPTA Student Day Pass Procedures below).
  • The school can contact the Department of Health to obtain oral confirmation of immunizations. This confirmation can be accepted as verification for enrolling a student *(BEC 42 USC & 11303). Written confirmation should be requested and received within 30 days.

Enrollment Disputes


If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school:

  • The homeless student shall be immediately admitted to the school in which the enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute;
  • The parent or guardian of the student shall be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school selection or enrollment, including the rights of the parent, guardian, or student to appeal the decision;
  • The student, parent, or guardian shall be referred to the district’s homeless liaison who shall carry out the appeal process as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute; and
  • In the case of unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of the dispute. 

If the district seeks to place a homeless child in a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent, the school district shall inform the parent or the unaccompanied youth of the right to appeal. The district shall provide the parent or unaccompanied youth with written notice including the contact information of the ECYEH Regional Coordinator:

Al B. Quarles Jr., M. Ed.
Coordinator of Homeless/Emergency Services 
Office: 215-400-6045
Cell: 267-784-9956


After-School and Summer Enrichment Programs


ECYEH After-School Enrichment Programs provide a variety of academic, cultural and social activities to homeless students who attend schools near the facility where they reside. The programs consist of classes and activities that reinforce the District’s Core curriculum as well as tutoring and homework support. These programs build the student’s awareness, participation in and the enjoyment of the arts, music, drama and dance. These programs also emphasize social skills that focus on developing self-esteem, confidence and respect, including recreational components to promote these skills.

Classes include but are not limited to; instruction in basic math and reading skills, health, nutrition and fitness, social studies and science activities with some laboratory demonstrations, creative and performing arts, crafts, outdoor sports, life experiences and field trips.

The Summer Enrichment Programs include all the above activities but may also include special projects like; science fairs, community projects, gardening, camping, fishing, boating and special opportunities to attend selected events.

ECYEH currently funds 16 after school programs and 18 summer enrichment programs.

SEPTA Student Day Pass Procedures


The School District of Philadelphia is committed to assuring educational continuity for all children who do not have fixed, permanent homes. We provide SEPTA student day passes to students who live in shelters, motels, hotels, cars and other non-permanent housing situations. Students are eligible for student day passes when the student is continuing in the school they attended before becoming homeless, if the school is more than one mile from the current resident.


  • The Shelter/Transitional housing provider must give the student and/or parent a verification of residence letter requesting transportation. 
  • Students living in other homeless categories must have written confirmation/notification submitted to the transportation department on school letterhead (Considered supporting documentation). 
  • The school counselor or principal’s designee will assist each student in obtaining a student pass. 
  • For grades K-12, SEPTA student passes for homeless students are to be requested on the Compass TARS System.  When creating the TAR you are now able to attach the supporting documentation and no longer need to email or fax anything.  The code (reason) for all homeless students is “L.” Contact The Office of Transportation, Education Center – Suite 311 for additional support. 
  • Students in grades K-5 who request a transpass are required to be accompanied by a parent or chaperone that is approved by the school principal.
  • This form must be completed and forwarded to Transportation within 48 hours. Schools will be responsible for providing the student pass if this form is not submitted within the specified time. 
  • The emergency/transitional housing providers will notify the school counselor when the student moves from the facility. If the student moves between or among emergency or transitional housing and the location is still a mile or more from school, student passes are to be continued throughout the school year. 
  • Homeless students temporarily residing outside of Philadelphia School District boundaries are eligible for transportation but required to have approval from the coordinator (Al Quarles) in order to process request.  

Contact Al Quarles, Philadelphia’s Regional Coordinator, with any questions or concerns you may have @ (215) 400-6045, e-mail: ECYEH@philasd.org 

Title I Fund and Uniform Assistance


The School District of Philadelphia now requires all students to wear uniforms to school. In implementing this policy, each school should be sensitive to the challenges faced by homeless students and families. No child’s education should be interrupted due to lack of proper clothing.

We have communicated with shelter providers regarding strategies for providing homeless students with uniforms. Schools can work to ensure that homeless families are able to obtain uniforms for their children in the following ways:

  • Schools may send a letter to the parents/guardians of all students requesting that they contact the school for assistance in obtaining uniforms.
  • Regions and schools may solicit corporate sponsors for uniforms. Many stores or companies offer significant discounts for buying large volume.
  • Schools may establish a system to trade in outgrown uniforms, which can then be donated or sold at a low cost to other students.
  • Schools may contact ECYEH to request assistance for the purchase of uniforms. Please note that these funds are limited and therefore are subject to availability.

COUNSELORS: When requesting Title I Funds, you must attach an itemized list of the requested items on school letterhead.


* To access the 2016-17 Title I Uniform Request Form: click HERE

Emergency Funds Assistance


Emergency Funds are a "non-homeless" service made available to students in a traumatic situation.

ECYEH is able to provide some financial support to students who are having difficulty affording school expenses due to an emergency, crisis, or sudden hardship they may be experiencing in their lives such as any of the following:

  • Loss of a family member
  • Being temporarily displaced from home
  • Loss of personal property due to theft
  • Parent/guardian recent loss of job
  • Family facing unexpected medical and/or other expenses

Emergency funds can assist in helping students in a crisis obtain what they need so as to fully participate in school.  Some provisions with which we can assist are:

  • Uniforms/Clothing
  • Class trips
  • Class dues
  • School pictures (basic package)
  • Class subscriptions
  • Some personal items

Students/Families in a crisis just need to contact the school counselor, nurse, or administrator for assistance in applying for Emergency Funds.

COUNSELORS: You must attach a written explanation of the emergency and reason for the request along with an itemized list of the requested items on school letterhead.

If there are any questions or concerns, please use the information on our Staff List page.

* To access the Emergency Funds Request Form: click HERE

Teen Evolution Experience Network (T.E.E.N.) Program


The Teen Evolution Experience Network (T.E.E.N.) is an initiative designed to locate, identify and support high school students living under non-permanent housing arrangements (in-shelter, doubled up/displaced due to hardship, unaccompanied, etc.) in getting on the fast track to post-secondary academic and career success through enriching activites and services.

* For the T.E.E.N. Web Page: click HERE

* For the T.E.E.N. Flyer: click HERE

* For the T.E.E.N. 1-Page Informational Sheet: click HERE

* For the T.E.E.N. Student Information Intake Form: click HERE