Defining Homelessness

​​​The McKinney-Vento Act defines homeless children as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." The act provides examples of children who fall under this definition as:

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Children and youth abandoned in hospitals
  • Children and youth whose primary nighttime residence is not ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodations (e.g. park benches, etc.)
  • Children and youth living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations
  • Migratory children and youth living in any of the above situations.​
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