Many children and families who are eligible for help do not consider themselves homeless. According to the McKinney-Vento Homelessness Education Assistance Act, a family is considered homeless if living in any of the following situations: Lack a regular, fixed, and adequate nighttime residence including:
Children and youth 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.
Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are children who are living in similar circumstances listed above.
Living in a shelter, motel, or hotel
Living in an unsheltered residence– such as a car or park
Sharing housing (doubled-up or couch-surfing) due to economic hardship
Living in campgrounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
Unaccompanied children or youth (i.e. not in the physical custody of their parents or guardians)
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act mandates that all local school districts have a homeless education liaison who ensures that:
Homeless children and youth are identified
Homeless students are immediately enrolled and attend school regardless of paperwork barriers (such as lack of address or proof of immunizations)
Homeless families, children, and youth receive all educational services for which they are eligible and have full and equal opportunity to succeed in school
Parents or guardians are informed of the educational opportunities available to their children
Homeless students have the right to remain in their school of origin (school attended when permanently housed or last enrolled) for the duration of their homelessness or until the end of the academic year in which they move into permanent housing
Unaccompanied youth are assisted in placement/enrollment decisions
Enrollment disputes are mediated
Schools should protect the dignity of families in transition by following the procedures established by their district under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, including confidentiality.