The Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence as homeless. This includes children and youths who:
- share the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as “doubled-up”);
- live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- live in emergency or transitional shelters;
- are abandoned in hospitals;
- 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;
- live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing (e.g., housing that lacks any one of the fundamental utilities, does not have working a kitchen or plumbing, is overcrowded, or infested), bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
- Unaccompanied youth who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
Students whose living situations meet this definition have educational rights and are eligible to receive services under the McKinney-Vento Act.