Children and youth experiencing homelessness find shelter in a variety of places. To help educators identify homeless children, the Act defines who is considered homeless. According to the U.S. Department of Education, people living in the following situations are considered homeless:
- Doubled up with family or friends due to economic conditions;
- Living in motels and hotels for lack of other suitable housing;
- Runaway and "Throwaway" children and youth;
- Homes for unwed or expectant mothers for lack of a place to live;
- Homeless and domestic violence shelters;
- Transitional housing programs;
- Public places not meant for housing;
- Cars, trailers, and campgrounds;
- Awaiting foster care; or Migratory children staying in housing not fit for habitation.
Requirements for Schools:
The McKinney-Vento Act provides certain rights for homeless students. They include waiving certain requirements such as proof of residency when students are enrolling and allowing categorical eligibility for certain services, such as free textbooks. The Act also states:
- Homeless students may attend their school of origin or the school where they are temporarily residing;
- Homeless students must be provided a written statement of their rights when they enroll and at least two times per year;
- Homeless students may enroll without school, medical, or similar records;
- Homeless students have a right to transportation to school;
- Students must be provided a statement explaining why they are denied any service or enrollment;
- Students must receive services, such as transportation, while disputes are being settled;
- Students are automatically eligible for Title I services;
- School districts must reserve a portion of Title IA funds to serve homeless students;
- Schools must post information in the community regarding the rights of homeless students, in schools and other places that homeless families may frequent.
Julie Smart is the Indiana Department of Education's State Coordinator of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program and can be reached at 317-460-1340 (direct) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indiana Department of Education Homeless Information