The U.S. Department of Education, through the McKinney-Vento program, is tasked with identifying, documenting, and providing transportation and other supports for homeless children and youth, defined as children and youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; and includes those who are sharing housing with others. This is the most reliable national estimate of the number of unaccompanied homeless youth who remain in school, the majority of whom are under the age of 18.
Youth who are both sharing housing of others and are stable fail to meet the criteria to be designated as a homeless student. According to the definition used by McKinney-Vento homeless liaisons, the only students sharing the housing of others who are counted are those who “lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.” It is the instability of the situation, for example, the lack of a legal right for them to be in the household, which puts them within the statutorily protected class. Thus, student who is staying with another family or relatives in a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, the student is not “homeless” under the education definition.
The number of unaccompanied homeless youth counted* by the U.S. Department of Education:
- 2016-2017 School Year 1,354,363
- 2015-2016 School Year 1,304,446
- 2014-2015 School Year 1,260,491
- 2013-2014 School Year: 88,966
- 2012-2013 School Year: 78,654
- 2011-2012 School Year: 59,711
- 2010-2011 School Year: 55,066
- 2009-2010 School Year: 65,317
*The youth included in this count are enrolled if they are attending classes and participating fully in school activities.