• Defintion of Homelessness

    As Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act defines it,
    In general... the term "homeless" or "homeless individual or homeless person" includes:
    1. an individual who lacks fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence: and
    2. an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is
    • a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill:
    • an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized: or
    • a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used ask, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

    In Preliminary Guidance for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program, published in 1995, the U.S. Department of Education outlines the major criteria for determining whether a child or youth is homeless. The following list is based on that information.

    Types of Homeless Children and Youth
    • children living in shelters and transitional housing;
    • children living in motels, welfare hotels, or weekly rate apartments;
    • children living in streets, cars, campgrounds, abandoned buildings, and the like;
    • children living doubled or tripled up crowded or undesirable living conditions because they have no place of their own to live where they can safely and healthfully meet their basic needs in privacy with dignity;
    • children in substandard living conditions in places not fit for human habitation; no electricity, no heat, no running water, no windows/doors, holes in the roof/floor, no way to cook or store food;
    • abandoned children;
    • runaways;
    • throwaways;
    • children who are the victims of domestic violence;
    • highly mobile children and youth; and
    • school-aged single mothers living in homes for unwed mothers because they have no other available living accommodations.