May 04

What qualifies a student as homeless?

Federal law (“the McKinney-Vento Act”) defines “homeless children and youth” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This definition includes children and youth who are living in any of the following places:

  • Shelters or transitional housing;
  • With friends or family, because you or your family have no other place to go;
  • With friends or family, because you have run away, been kicked out of home, or don’t have anywhere else
    to go;
  • In motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds because you have no other place to go;
  • In cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, public spaces, or similar places;
  • If you are a migrant youth who is living in one of the above living situations.
Rights and services for students experiencing homelessness:

Students experiencing homelessness, once identified, have a right to a variety of resources, including:

  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents
  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is their preference and is feasible
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin
  • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the students’ needs
Resources for students experiencing homelessness:

If you or someone you know is experiencing homlessness, contact your school district's homeless liaison to receive the services listed above: