The McKinney-Vento Act, the federal law that establishes the rights and entitlements of homeless youth, covers children and youth who don’t have a fixed, adequate and regular nighttime residence, such as those living:  


  • with friends or relatives due to loss of housing or economic hardship (aka doubled up or couch surfing);
  • in a motel, hotel, or campground;
  • in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • in temporary situations while awaiting foster care placement or abandoned in hospitals;
  • in a public or private place not designed or ordinarily used for, regular sleeping accommodations;
  • in a car, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station or other similar settings;
  • in temporary housing and not with their legal parents or guardians (Unaccompanied Youth).
Students in temporary housing have the right to:
  • Go to school, no matter where they live or how long they have lived there;
  • Choose to attend either the local school or the school of origin, if feasible and in their best interest;
  • Get free transportation to and from the school of origin, if it is requested;
  • Enroll in and attend school immediately, without proper documentation, (ex. Birth certificate, proof of residence, previous school records, or immunization/medical records) or even without a parent or proof of legal guardian;
  • Have access to the same programs and services  that are available to all other students, including transportation, extracurricular activities and supplemental educational services;
  • Get free school meals without an application.