North Carolina Homeless Education Program

McKinney Vento Contact Information

Ashley McCartha
Director of Student Services
Homeless Liaison
McDowell County Schools
828-652-4535 ext. 300

Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator
NC Homeless Education Program  

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act  

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is also known as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act.

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. For more information:

The Law
View the full text of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act in HTML format.
Download the full text of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act in PDF format.  

What is "Homeless" and Who Qualifies

Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (as reauthorized by Title X, Part C of the No Child Left Behind Act) defines homeless as follows:

The term "homeless children and youths"--

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and (B) includes--

(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons 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; are abandoned in hospitals.

(ii) children and youths 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 (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C)); 

(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and 

(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).

View the full text of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

View the text in Spanish: Listed below in files.

Parent/Youth Rights

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 Title VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.  It was reauthorized by Title IX, Part A in December 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  


Staff Resources

Policy Guidance
Download the U.S. Department of Education's Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program: Non-Regulatory Guidance (updated August 2018)  

For the non-regulatory guidance on the Education for Homeless Children and Youth and help your school district implement amendments to the McKinney-Vento Act, please visit: The non-regulatory guidance is included on the side bar. (Updated August 2018)  

For a fact sheet that you can provide to your school staff, teachers, and principals, on the impacts of homelessness, key rights of homeless students under the McKinney-Vento Act, and tips for how school staff can support the homeless students and families they may serve visit:

To review the press release on the importance of identifying and serving homeless children and youth, go to .

Additionally, the US Department of Education released a new web page that highlights the Department initiatives related to identifying and supporting students experiencing homelessness from pre-school to post-secondary ages. Web page topics include:

  • The state of homeless students in the United States
  • Pre-K-12 education programs and initiatives that specify homeless students for eligibility or priority for services
  • Additional federal programs and resources that may support homeless students
  • Other federal agencies serving homeless children and youth

To learn more, please visit:

Identified McKinney Vento students for the past three years in McDowell County:
15-16 = 977
16-17 = 882
17-18 = 697 
18-19 = 487  

NC Homeless Data            

Homeless Education Non-Regulatory Guidance Updated August 2018  

Informational McKinney Vento posters for parents/guardians are placed in various locations throughout the county. A list of those locations are provided below.