McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act:
Education for Homeless Children and Youths

The Regional Office of Education serves as the liaison for local school districts in serving youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
Before schools can be certain they are complying with legislation related to educating students experiencing homelessness, they must understand who can be considered homeless. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (Section 725) defines “homeless children and youth” (school-age and younger) as:
  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth who are:
    - Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
    - 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.
    - Awaiting foster care placement.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The term unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include runaways living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the streets, or in other inadequate housing; children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to “throwaway children and youth”); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.


In determining whether or not a child or youth is homeless, consider the relative permanence of the living arrangements. Determinations of homelessness should be made on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Tera Hicks with questions on services to homeless youth at 309-936-7890.