What is McKinney-Vento and how does it relate to shelter and housing support?
The federal McKinney-Vento Act ensures educational rights, protections, and services for homeless children and youth.
Various living arrangements meet the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless therefore qualifying children or youth as eligible for services under the Act. Under McKinney-Vento, students are considered to be experiencing homelessness if they lack a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This can look like:
- Living in inadequate or substandard housing, which can be infested or lacking heat, water, electricity, or a working kitchen or bathroom.
- Living in a hotel or motel, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
- Living in a shelter or transitional housing.
- Living in a place not meant for human habitation, such as a car or abandoned building, public spaces, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings.
- Living doubled up: temporarily sharing another person’s housing due to a lack of housing or economic hardship. This is a common living situation for many students experiencing homelessness.
A student’s housing status is recorded based on their first reported experience of housing instability during the school year and enrollment process.
Learn more about McKinney-Vento with this McKinney-Vento Act: Quick Reference guide.
Whether you are a parent, youth experiencing homelessness, or a professional who works with families and children the Let’s Educate Every Child and Youth resources contain specific information and guidance based on your role.
Educational Rights for School-Aged Youth (including head start and early education youth) In English In Spanish