NCHE Presenters
Guest Presenters
Diana Bowman
Beth Bullock Johnson
[email protected]
[email protected]
Jan Moore
Christine Craft
[email protected]
[email protected]
Laura Misner
[email protected]
The National Center for Homeless Education
(NCHE) operates the U.S. Department of
Education’s technical assistance and information
center in the area of homeless education;; Helpline: 800-308-2145 or
[email protected]
The NC Higher Education Collaborative on Homeless
Youth (HECHY) seeks to smooth the transition to
college for unaccompanied students who are
experiencing homelessness.
McKinney-Vento Act
Unaccompanied homeless youth and independent
student status
College support networks and initiatives
SPOC Responsibilities
 Key responsibilities to support
unaccompanied homeless youth
Create awareness on campus of homeless students
Expedite the process of determining eligibility for
independent student status for the FAFSA
Facilitate campus discussions to develop a system of
support for UHY
Link youth with campus resources and community
Title X, Part C of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA)
Focuses on K-12, but includes transition to
college, especially with College Cost Reduction
and Access Act (CCRAA)
Local liaison in every school district
State Coordinator in every state
Key themes
Support for school access and success
School stability
Student-centered, best interest decision making
Children or youth who lack a fixed,
regular, and adequate nighttime
residence, including:
 Sharing the housing of others due to
loss of housing, economic hardship, or
similar reason (“doubling up”)
 Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks,
camping grounds due to the lack of
adequate alternative accommodations
 Living in emergency or transitional
 Awaiting foster care placement
 Living in a public or private place not
designed for humans to live
 Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings,
substandard housing, bus or train stations,
or a similar setting
 Migratory children living in the above
 Unaccompanied youth living in the above
Fixed: Stationary, permanent, and not subject to
 Regular: Used on a predictable, routine, or consistent
basis (e.g. nightly); consider the relative permanence
 Adequate: Sufficient for meeting both the physical and
psychological needs typically met in home
 Consider relative permanence of living arrangement
Can the student go to the SAME PLACE (fixed) EVERY NIGHT
(regular) to sleep in a SAFE AND SUFFICIENT SPACE (adequate)?
Shelters are often full, turning youth away
No shelters in many suburban and rural areas
Eligibility rules of shelters often exclude unaccompanied
Youth may fear adult shelters
Shelters often have short stay limits
Youth may be unaware of alternatives, fleeing in crisis,
living in overcrowded, temporary, and sometimes unsafe
Shelters often are a last resort
McKinney-Vento defines doubledup as “sharing the housing of others
due to loss of housing, economic
hardship, or similar reason”
 Questions to consider:
 Did the student lose his/her housing?
 Is the student experiencing economic hardship
resulting in inability to access stable housing?
 How permanent is the living arrangement intended to
 Where would the student be if not doubled up?
 Is the living arrangement fixed, regular, and adequate?
2-step process to determine eligibility
1) Does the student’s living arrangement
meet the McKinney-Vento Act’s
definition of homeless?
2) Once homelessness is determined, is the
student unaccompanied?
Unaccompanied = “not in the physical
custody of a parent or guardian”; in
practical terms, the youth does not live
with a parent or guardian
Longstanding patterns of family conflict:
blended family issues, pregnancy, sexual
activity or orientation, school problems,
alcohol/drug use
 Abuse and/or neglect within the home
 Parental incarceration, substance abuse,
illness, hospitalization, or death
Foster care issues: running away from a placement,
aging out of the system; significant correlation
between involvement with the child welfare system
and experiencing homelessness as an adult
 Some students become homeless with their
families, but end up on their own due to lack of
space in temporary accommodations or shelter
policies that prohibit adolescent males
A youth can be eligible regardless of whether he/she
was asked to leave the home or chose to leave
Sometimes there is “more than meets the eye” for a
youth’s home life situation
Institutions of higher education do not need to
understand and/or agree with all aspects of a
student’s home life to educate him/her and comply
with federal educational mandates
 Lack means to live independently & safely
 Not self-sufficient once enrolled in college
 Housing
 Limited options, especially in small towns and
rural areas
 Nowhere to go when dorms close
 Struggle to balance school, work, etc.
 Unfamiliar with available support systems
 Lack of adult guidance and advocacy
Sarah was kicked out of her house after high
school graduation. She’d had problems getting
along with her stepdad for some time and the
level of conflict got out of control. She went to
live with her friend, Kim, but Kim’s parents said
Sarah can only stay there until the end of the
summer, when Kim leaves for college. Sarah is no
longer in contact with her mom and stepdad.
Is Sarah an unaccompanied homeless youth?
Other questions?
Expanded definition of independent student includes:
 unaccompanied and homeless or
 unaccompanied, self-supporting, and at-risk of
homelessness (“when a student’s housing may cease to
be fixed, regular, and adequate”)
Uses McKinney-Vento definition of homeless
 Includes a student:
 living in dorm if he/she would otherwise be homeless
 fleeing an abusive parent, even if the parent
would provide housing and support
Independent student status determined by:
 Local liaison (school district)
 RHYA-funded shelter director or designee
 HUD-funded shelter director or designee
 College Financial Aid Administrator
Local Liaisons - NC
State Coordinator - NC
Lisa Phillips, [email protected], 800-659-3204
All other State Coordinator contact info
HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development).
Local Office Directory
RHYA (Runaway and Homeless Youth Act) Grantees
Language from NCHE’s Determining Eligibility brief
 Student can use the college’s administrative address
as his/her mailing address
 UHY may be 21 or younger or still enrolled in high
school when FAFSA is signed
 Students who don’t meet the definition of youth (21
and under) but who are unaccompanied and
homeless or self supporting and at risk of
homelessness qualify for dependency override
Verification required only if there is conflicting
Permits FAA to confirm status with documented
interview (See handout: Making Student Status
Encourages discretion and sensitivity when gathering
 Child welfare and police reports are not necessary
Recommends consulting with local liaisons, State
Coordinators, NCHE, counselors, clergy, etc.
Allows students to appeal eligibility determinations to
the U.S. Department of Education
Be familiar with McKinney-Vento definition of
homeless and apply it on case-by-case basis
 Make a determination of homeless/
unaccompanied status if a student does not
have, and cannot get, documentation from a
liaison or shelter director
 Is not a professional judgment or dependency
override for youth 21 and younger
 Consult with local liaisons, State
Coordinators, or NCHE
 Be reasonable and sensitive when requesting
information from students
Samuel’s mom was incarcerated the summer before his
senior year in high school, so Samuel had to leave
home. Since his father has never been a part of his life,
Samuel doesn’t even know if he’s still alive. Samuel has
been staying with different relatives and friends since
then, but none are willing to assume legal
guardianship or provide financial support. He’s starting
to apply for colleges and is concerned about having
enough money to attend.
Is Samuel an unaccompanied homeless youth?
Other questions?
Post information publicly in strategic locations
throughout campus
Create awareness of the issue among faculty and
staff, particularly those working in the area of
financial aid, student services, and other support
Awareness resources
NCHE higher education brief
NCHE/NASFAA awareness poster
Refer students to campus and community support
services upon admission
Establish coordination between financial aid offices,
student support services, and campus housing
Start a food and clothing bank on campus
Implement alternate housing plan when dorms
close: leave one residence hall open or establish a list
of “host homes” in community
Begin a mentoring program
Convene a meeting of all stakeholders:
McKinney-Vento K-12, Higher Education, and
local communities
 Share knowledge about your area of expertise
Higher education: Financial aid
Local liaisons: Identifying and serving students
Community partners: Resources for homeless
Develop an action plan for serving UHY
that fits your community
Examples of state networks:
Members from National Center for Homeless
Education, NC Homeless Education Program, public
and private colleges and universities, community
colleges, public schools, NC State Education Assistance
Agency, and others
 Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for homeless students
on every NC campus.
 Presentations and publications
 Interested in joining? Contact Jan Moore,
[email protected] or 800-308-2145
Application and Verification Guide 2012-2013: Dependency Status
Making Student Status Determinations for Unaccompanied
Homeless Youth: Tool for Financial Aid Administrators
Determining Eligibility for Rights and Services Under the McKinneyVento Act
Increasing Access to Higher Education for Unaccompanied Homeless
Youth: Information for Colleges and Universities
NCHE/NASFAA awareness poster
Webinar handouts at
National Center for Homeless Education
Higher Education page:
NCHE helpline: 800-308-2145 or [email protected]
NC Homeless Education Program
National Association for the Education of
Homeless Children and Youth
Higher Education page:

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