Definition of Homelessness
Children and Youth living in different situations are considered homeless under Federal Law. Homelessness is a lack of permanent housing resulting from extreme poverty or from the lack of safe and stable living arrangement. Children and youth in homeless situations often do not fit society's stereotypical images of homelessness. Therefore, educators may not realize the breadth of students who are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. and, as such, qualify for its protections and services. The McKinney-Vento Act contains a specific definition of homelessness that includes a broad array of living situations.
The term "homeless children and youth"
A) means an individual who lacked fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence....; and
(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; are living in motel, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations; are living in an emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
(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;
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public places, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of the subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).