Who is homeless?
The term “homeless children and youth means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes:
Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accomodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement.
Children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
Children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described above.
The Laws and Provisions
The (federal) McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Illinois Education for Homeless Children Act ensures homeless children have a right to:
A free, appropriate public education including a priority to preschool programs
The choice of staying in the school of origin or attending any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child is actually living are eligible to attend
Immediate enrollment even when required documents such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, or other such documentation cannot be produced at the time of enrollment
Assistance with transportation if needed
For further information regarding educational rights of homeless students may be obtained by contacting your school’s social worker or the District’s Homeless Liaisons: