Who is considered “homeless”?
Under Federal law, a student is considered homeless if the student:
- Does not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence
- Shares the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason
- Lives in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
- Lives in emergency or transitional housing
- Was abandoned in a hospital
- Awaits foster care placement
- Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings
- Lives in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station or similar setting.
Migrant children qualify as homeless if they live in any of the situations described above.
Under the federal McKinney-Vento Act, children and youth in homeless situations have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there.
- Attend either the local school or the school of origin, if this is in their best interest. The school of origin is the school the child attended when he/she was permanently housed or the school in which the child was last enrolled.
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin.
- Enroll in school immediately, even if missing records and documents normally required for enrollment such as a birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records.
- Enroll, attend classes, and participate fully in all school activities while the school gathers records.
- Have access to the same programs and services that are available to all other students, including transportation and supplemental educational services.
- Attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; a school may not segregate a student because he or she is homeless.
Who is eligible to receive assistance under the McKinney-Vento Act?
If you lost your housing and now live in a shelter, hotel, motel, vehicle, campground, or temporary trailer; on the street; doubled‐up with family or friends; or in another type of temporary or inadequate housing, you may be able to receive help for your child through a federal law called the McKinney‐Vento Act.
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