UNC Greensboro’s SERVE Center has been awarded a five-year, $6.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness across the nation.

The grant will continue the work of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE), which has been housed in the Serve Center since 1998. As the technical assistance and information center for the federal Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program, NCHE assists state coordinators for homeless education in all 50 states, operates a national hotline, collects and disseminates data, and conducts regional and national presentations on homeless education.

The work of NCHE has far-reaching impact. Nationally, approximately 1.5 million children and youth are homeless.

“This award highlights one of UNCG’s areas of strength – the ability to translate research and policy into meaningful practice,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Terri L. Shelton. “The SERVE team’s on-the-ground experience and understanding are key. That knowledge helps state-level personnel, superintendents, principals, and teachers identify the best practices for their unique communities to advance educational outcomes for students who are homeless.”

The McKinney-Vento Act grants specific rights to homeless children and youth, such as immediate enrollment in school, transportation, free meals, clothing, school supplies, and tutorial services. NCHE works with coordinators and liaisons nationwide to make sure homeless youth have access to these resources.

In addition to supporting the everyday operations of NCHE, the grant also provides funding for the center to begin work with 23 sites across the country that are part of the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, an initiative to reduce the number of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The work will be led by George Hancock, who serves as executive director of the SERVE Center and director of NCHE.

For more information about SERVE, visit serve.uncg.edu. To learn more about NCHE, visit nche.edu.gov.