What is meant by the term “homeless children and youth?”
The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children and youth as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes:
Children and youth who are:
Sharing the housing of others due to Loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up);
Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
Abandoned in hospitals;
Children and youth who have a Primary nighttime residence that is a Public or private place that is not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings;
Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, eligible children and youth have the right to:
Attend their school of origin, if this is in the student’s best interest, or the local attendance area school. The school of origin is the school the student attended before losing housing or the school the student last attended.
Enroll in the new local school immediately, even if lacking documentation normally required for enrollment, such as previous school records, immunization or medical records, birth certificate, proof of residency, or proof of guardianship, or other documents.
The terms “enroll” and “enrollment” includes attending classes and participating fully in all school activities.
Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students, including transportation, before and after school programs, counseling services, Title I programs, special education services if the child has a disability, bilingual, vocational, gifted and talented programs, free school breakfast and lunch.