EDIT MAIN
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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 (Section 725) defines "homeless children and youth" (school-age and younger) as:

  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are:
    •  Sharing the housing of other persons 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 youth that 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.
  • Children and youth who are living in cars, 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 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 street or in other inadequate housing; children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to "throwaway children and youth"); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.