McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Mitchell County Schools

Homeless Assistance Program


Overview

In January of 2002, Congress authorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to help people experiencing homelessness. The federal law includes the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program that entitles children who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence to a free, appropriate education and requires schools to remove barriers to their enrollment, attendance and success in school.

42 USC CHAPTER 119, SUBCHAPTER VI, Part B: Education for Homeless Children and Youths

On December 10, 2015, the President signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Under the previous version of ESEA (the No Child Left Behind Act), the education of homeless children and youth was included in Title X, Part C. Under ESSA homeless education is included in Title IX, Part A.

Text of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015

The McKinney-Vento Program meets the needs of homeless students attending Mitchell County Schools by addressing academic challenges and family issues affecting their success in school.

Who is considered homeless?

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, the term “homeless children and youths” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes children and youths: who are sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals; who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and who are migratory children who live in one of the above circumstances.

Example living situations that may qualify include, but are not limited to:

  • Living with a friend, relative or other person/family because of a loss of housing
  • Staying in a motel or hotel because of a loss of housing or fleeing domestic violence
  • Living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing or domestic violence shelter
  • Living in a car, park or public place, abandoned building or bus station
  • Living temporarily in substandard housing
  • Living in a campground or an inadequate trailer home
  • Living in a runaway or homeless youth shelter; run away youth
  • Youth living on their own, even if their families want them to come home

Parental Rights

Your McKinney-Vento eligible children have the right to:

  • receive a free, appropriate public education. enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • enroll in the local school; or continue attending the school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference. If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your children, then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal its decision.
  • receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if you request this.
  • receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to your children’s needs.

Parent booklet

This brochure from the NCHE (National Center for Homeless Education) explains the educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness and informs parents about ways in which they can support their children's education during times of mobility.

Information for Parents (Información para los Padres)

Download the poster here.

Information for Parents.PDF

Youth Rights

The McKinney-Vento Program also meets the needs of "a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian" (42 USC §11434a(6), 2001). Youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian and lacking a fixed, regular and adequate residence are referred to as "unaccompanied homeless youth". Youth who run away are also eligible for services even if the parent/guardian/caregiver wishes the student to return home. Some reasons a youth may be on his/her own include, but is not limited to, family dysfunction, parental neglect and abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or substance), incarceration, illness and deportation. Runaway youth and unaccompanied homeless youth are eligible to be enrolled immediately without a legal guardian. Under the McKinney-Vento Program, there is no age limit for an unaccompanied homeless or runaway youth as long as the student is eligible for K-12 public education in NC. Schools must immediately alert the School McKinney-Vento Liaison or the District McKinney-Vento Liaison if presented with a possible runaway or unaccompanied homeless youth.

Unaccompanied homeless youth have the right to:

  • receive a free, appropriate public education.
  • enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
  • receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested.
  • receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the student’s needs. * If the school district believes that the school selected is not in his/her best interest, then the district must provide the student with a written explanation of its position and inform the student of his/her right to appeal its decision.

Information for School-Aged Youth (Información para los Jóvenes de Edad Escolar)

Download the poster here.

Information for School-Aged Youth.PDF

How to request services

Contact school staff (principal, secretary, or counselor) and ask about completing a homeless survey. You can also contact the Mitchell County Schools Homeless Program Liaison (see below).

Local Liaison

Dana Hollifield

Mitchell County Schools

72 Ledger School Road

Bakersville, NC 28705

Phone: (828)-766-3358

Email: dhollifield@mcsnc.org

State Coordinator

Lisa Phillips

State Coordinator for Homeless Education

Phone: (336)-315-7491

Website: NC Homeless Education Program

Helpful Links:

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

NCHE operates the U.S. Department of Education's technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program.

North Carolina Homeless Education Program

NCHEP is dedicated to ensuring that all children and youth experiencing homelessness have access to the public education to which they are entitled under the federal McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act. NCHEP works towards this goal by ensuring that North Carolina's state policies are in compliance with federal law, by providing technical assistance to North Carolina's local homeless education liaisons, and by providing informational and awareness materials to educators and other interested community members throughout North Carolina.

Mitchell County Schools served 12 students in the 2017-2018 school year.

Mitchell County Schools served 14 students in the 2016-2017 school year.

Mitchell County Schools served 8 students in the 2015-2016 school year.

Mitchell County Schools served 27 students in the 2014-2015 school year.


For more information on North Carolina statewide data, please see the following links:

NC Homeless Education Program State Data

National Center for Homeless Education State of NC Data