Definition of McKinney-Vento Act

42 USC §11431. Statement of Policy

The following is the policy of the Congress:

(1) Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education,
including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.

(2) In any State where compulsory residency requirements or other requirements, in laws,
regulations, practices, or policies, may act as a barrier to the identification of, or the
enrollment, attendance, or success in school of, homeless children and youths, the State
educational agency and local educational agencies in the State will review and undertake
steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children
and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other
children and youths.

(3) Homelessness is not a sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream
school environment.

(4) Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services
that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an
opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are

Eligibility under McKinney-Vento

Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including:

● Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a
similar reason

● Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative
adequate accommodations

● Living in emergency or transitional shelters

● Living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular
sleeping accommodation for human beings

● Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or
train stations, or similar settings

● Migratory children living in the above circumstances

● Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Rights

Unaccompanied homeless youth are ensured the same educational rights that the
McKinney-Vento Act provides for other homeless students, which includes the right to:

● Enroll immediately, even if they do not currently have paperwork normally required for

● Attend either the local attendance area school or the school of origin, with the placement
decision based on the student’s best interest

● Remain in the school of origin for the duration of the homelessness or until the end of the school year in which the student becomes permanently housed

● Receive transportation to and from the school of origin

● Receive educational services, such as free school meals, Title I services, and participate
in gifted and talented programs, vocational education, alternative education, and any
other services comparable to what housed students receive

● Not be stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status as homeless
In addition to the provisions that apply to all homeless students, the McKinney-Vento Act
includes the following provisions specifically for unaccompanied homeless youth:

● Unaccompanied homeless youth shall be immediately enrolled without proof of

● During a dispute over school selection or enrollment, unaccompanied homeless youth
shall receive a written statement explaining the school’s decision, the youth’s right to
appeal the decision, and a referral to the local liaison

Local Liaisons shall assist unaccompanied homeless youth in:

● Selecting a school of attendance and enrolling in school

● Requesting transportation to and from the school of origin

● Enrolling in school immediately while disputes are resolved

Contact Information Regarding Eligibility & Services

Southwest Charlotte STEM Academy
McKinney-Vento Liaison:

Cindy Gittens, Mental Health Specialist
(980) 505-8344

State Coordinator:
Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator

State Website:
NC Homeless Education Program



National Center for Homeless Education


National Homeless Data

North Carolina Data

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