McKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS ASSISTANCE ACT
Homelessness is often thought of as something that only happens to people with particular traits, habits, or economic standing, but it impacts people from all backgrounds. Consider the following: lack of affordable housing, job loss, serious illness/accident, natural disaster, significant life changes, child and youth abuse and domestic violence are among some of the reasons for a loss of housing.
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. The McKinney-Vento Program meets the needs of homeless students attending Lincoln Charter by addressing academic challenges and family issues affecting their success in school.
Examples of 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, fleeing domestic violence, or natural disaster
- 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
- Parents Rights Parent Rights.pdf
- Youth Rights Youth Rights.pdf
If the parent/guardian/youth disagree on the McKinney-Vento eligibility and/or school placement, a process is in place to appeal the decision. Every state must establish procedures to promptly resolve disputes regarding the educational placement of students in transition.
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, a student in transition has the right to attend either the school of origin, if this is in the student’s best interest, or the home school.
School of origin is defined as the school that the child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. Home school is defined as any public school that non homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend. School of origin includes Title 1 preschool, Special Education preschool, feeder schools (ESSA, 2016).
Whenever a dispute arises, the student must be enrolled immediately to the requested school and be allowed to participate fully in all school activities while the dispute is being resolved. Upon resolution, the student will be immediately transferred to the original school placement if dispute was denied.
The school must refer the student, parent, or guardian to the district McKinney-Vento specialist to carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.
- Services provided include immediate enrollment, school selection promoting stability, nutrition and academic support. McKinney-Vento services are provided for the duration of a school year and do not automatically renew. To obtain more information about eligibility, services provided and how to access services, please contact your child’s McKinney-Vento liaison at their current school.
- You may also contact the NC Homeless Education State Coordinator for additional information.
NC Homeless Education Program (http://center.serve.org/hepnc/)
PO Box 5367
Greensboro, NC 27435