Before schools can be certain they are complying with legislation related to educating students experiencing homelessness, they must understand who can be considered homeless. The McKinney-Vento Act (Section 725) defines "homeless children and youth" (school-age and younger) as:

  • Children and youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including children and youth 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 lack of alternative adequate accommodations.

    • Living in emergency or transitional shelters.

    • Abandoned in hospitals

    • Awaiting foster care placement

  • Children and youth that 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, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings.

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

  • The term unaccompanied youth includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. This would include runaways living in runaway shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, on the street or in other inadequate housing; children and youth denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to "throwaway children and youth"); and school-age unwed mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other housing available.

    • McKinney-Vento District Liaison - Marissa Hill, Assistant Director of Student Support Services,, 217-586-2161

    • For help accessing area resources - Suzann Dill, Family Engagement Specialist,, 217-974-1756

Education for Homeless Children Act

McKinney-Vento Fact Sheet

Homeless Dispute Resolution Procedures