The U.S. McKinney-Vento Assistance Act defines homeless children as those who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime abode. In general, children or youth living in motels, transitional housing, shelters, the street, cars, parks, bus or train stations, abandoned buildings and other inadequate accommodations may be considered eligible for McKinney-Vento services.

McKinney-Vento Act Know the Facts

This definition includes eligible families who live in any of the following situations:

  • Children living in "Substandard" conditions which include housing that lacks utilities (such as working water, gas or electricity)

  • Housing that is infested with vermin and mold, and does not have a working kitchen or a working toilet

  • Housing that might present unreasonable dangers to adults, children, or persons with disabilities

  • Children sharing housing with of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason

  • Children living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations

  • Children living in crisis shelters, emergency shelters or transitional shelters

  • Children abandoned in hospitals

  • 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, at bus or train stations, or similar settings

  • Unaccompanied youth (students not living in the physical custody of a parent/guardian, commonly referred to as runaways, lockouts, throwaways, etc.)

  • Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above

Eligible children and youth have the right to:

  • Receive a free, appropriate public education

  • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment

  • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents

  • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is your preference and it is feasible

  • If the school district believes that the school you select is not in the best interest of your child(ren), then the district must provide you with a written explanation of its position and inform you of your right to appeal this decision

  • Receive transportation to and from school, if the students meet the state statue eligibility requirements

  • Receive educational services that "Non-homeless students" are eligible to receive

  • A priority to enroll in pre-school

If children and their parent/guardian who initially share the housing of another person due to the loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar hardship continue to share housing, the local education association (in this case District 152) may, after the passage of 18 months and annually thereafter, conduct a review as to whether the hardship continues to exist in accordance with state law.