Students, Families Facing Homelessness

Who is Homeless or Displaced?

In 1987, Congress passed the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Subtitle B of Title VII of this Act entitled, Education for Homeless Children and Youth, was amended in 2001 as part of No Child Left Behind, Title X, Part C and was amended again in December 2015 for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Under the amendments (Sec. 725), the phrase “homeless children and youths” means individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

The Basic Education Circular: Education for Homeless Youth 42 U.S.C. 11431 dated February 29, 2008, explains the categories of children who are “homeless” and entitled to protections of the federal law. These categories include children and youths 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 alternative adequate accommodations
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals
  • Individuals and/or families living with relatives or friends due to loss of housing
  • Primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used for regular sleeping accommodations for human beings such as living in a vehicle, park, public space, or an abandoned building
  • Living in substandard housing
  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless
  • “Unaccompanied homeless youth” including any child who is “not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian” (42 U.S.C. 1143a (6)). This includes youth who have run away from home, been thrown out of their home, been abandoned by parents or guardians, or separated from their parent for any reason



For additional resource regarding assistance for homelessness, please visit the Region 3 website for the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness (ECYEH) at