NC Homeless Education Program

The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law passed to help families who are homeless keep their children in school.

Definition of homelessness

The term “homeless children and youth” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and can include the following situations:

Living with a friend, relative or someone else because they lost their home.

Staying in a motel or hotel.

Living in an emergency or transitional shelter or domestic violence shelter.

Staying in substandard housing.

Living in a car, park or public place, abandoned building or bus station.

Living in a campground or an inadequate trailer home.

Abandoned in a hospital.

Living in a runaway or homeless youth shelter.

Educational Rights of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to receive a free, appropriate public education.

Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment, or having missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness.

Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.

Enroll in the local attendance area school or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is the parent’s, guardian’s, or unaccompanied youth’s preference. If the school district believes the school selected is not in the student’s best interest, then the district must provide the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of its position and inform him/her of the right to appeal its decision.

Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent, guardian, or local liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth.

Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the student’s need.

These rights are established under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in U.S. public schools. It was reauthorized by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act in December 2015. To qualify for these rights, children and youth must be considered homeless according to the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless.

School Contact, Mrs. Kimberly Best – 828-885-2665

North Carolina State Coordinator, Lisa Phillips

For information regarding homeless students in North Carolina public schools.