The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Act provides a definition of homeless children and youths to be used by state and local educational agencies (LEAs). It defines homeless children and youths to be those who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Under the larger umbrella of lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, the law also provides several examples of situations that meet the definition. The examples include children and youths
· sharing housing due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
· living in hotels, motels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to a lack of alternative adequate housing;
· living in emergency or transitional shelters;
· abandoned in hospitals;
· living in a public or private place not designated for, or normally used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
· living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar places;
· living in one of the above circumstances and who are migratory according to the definition in Section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 [42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2)].
When considering if a student meets the criteria in the definition provided by the law, it is important to remember that the list provided is only a guide, and more situations may exist that meet the criteria than are actually listed. However, liaisons must always rely on the criteria outlined in the law of lacking fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence as the ultimate test of whether a student’s housing meets the definition. For more on the specific nuances related to eligibility criteria for students, see Chapter 4 Determining Eligibility.
Q: What definition of "homeless" applies to this program?
A : Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act) defines "homeless" as follows: The term "homeless children and youths"...
(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within the meaning of section 103(a)(1)); and
(i) children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in 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 (within the meaning of section 103(a)(2)(C));
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children (as such term is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).