Homeless Family Services / McKinney-Vento Act

  • Title I funds also support homeless youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act, which was created to assist qualifying students. Each school has a homeless liaison dedicated to offering assistance in meeting the basic needs of identified at-risk students in order to achieve academic success.

    Homeless students are children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Unaccompanied youth includes a youth who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. Homeless children and youth include those students who are as follows:

    • sharing the house of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
    • living in motels, hotels, transient trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
    • living in emergency or transitional shelters;
    • living in a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings;
    • living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings; or
    • living in a migratory situation that qualifies as homeless because the child lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence

    Children and youth experiencing homelessness have the right to:

    • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
    • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents are normally required for enrollment.
    • 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 is feasible. 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 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 in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). To qualify for these rights, children and youth must be considered homeless according to the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless.

    Total number of homeless children and youth enrolled in UCPS:

    • 2021-2022 - 258
    • 2020-2021 - 224
    • 2019-2020 - 252

    For North Carolina homeless data, please visit NCHEP or NCHE - NC

    Please contact the McKinney-Vento Liaison at your school or Lori Spruiell, Title I Specialist for enrollment information.

    Union County Board of Education Policy Manual (4-22 Homeless Students)

    For more information please visit the National Center for Homeless Education or the North Carolina Homeless Education Program websites.

    State Coordinator for Homeless Education: Lisa Phillips, lphillip@serve.org