Who are Homeless Children and Youth?
Before schools can be certain they are complying with legislation related to educating students experiencing homelessness, they must understand who can be considered homeless. The McKinney-Vento Act (Sec. 725) defines "homeless children and youths' (school -aged and younger) as:
Children and youths who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youths who are:
Sharing the housing of other persons temporarily due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
Abandoned in hospitals
Awaiting foster care placement.
Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for , or ordinarily used as, regular sleeping accommodations.
Children and youths who are living in cares, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in the circumstances described above
The term unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include runaways living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing; children and youths denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to "throwaway children and youths"); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.
These are youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include youth living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing and children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to as "throwaway" children and youth), and school-age unwed mothers, living in homes for unwed mothers, who have no other housing available.
In determining whether or not a child or youth is homeless, consider the relative permanence of the living arrangements. Determination of homelessness should be made on a case-by-case basis.