The McKinney-Vento Act protects the educational rights of homeless children and youth. Many children and families who are eligible for help do not consider themselves homeless. The definition of homelessness under the Act includes, but is not limited to, children or youth in these circumstances or settings:
- Children or youth in shelters or transitional housing.
- Children or youth living in parks, public spaces, vehicles, abandoned buildings, or other places not meant for people to live.
- Children or youth doubled-up or couch- surfing due to loss of housing or economic hardship.
- Children or youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations.
- Unaccompanied children or youth (i.e. not in the physical custody of their parents or guardians).