McKinney-Vento Definition of Homeless
The McKinney-Vento definition of homeless is individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including:
- 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, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals
- Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation (e.g. park benches, etc.)
- Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
- Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations
Rights & Services
- Immediate school enrollment and full participation in all school activities for eligible children, even when records normally required for enrollment are not available.
- The right of children and youth experiencing homelessness to remain in their school of origin (the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled, when feasible and in the child's or youth's best interest to do so.
- Transportation to and from the school origin.
- Access to programs and services, including special education services, preschool services, free school meals, Title I services, services for English language learners, vocational/technical education, gifted and talented services, and before and after-school care.
- Rights and protections specifically for unaccompanied youth (youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian who are experiencing homelessness, including allowing them to be immediately enrolled without proof of guardianship.
- The right to dispute an enrollment decision and for a child or youth to be admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending the resolution of the dispute.