Students experiencing homelessness include those who meet the definition set out by McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act definition (amended by ESSA in 2015):
- 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 adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals
- 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
Note: Migratory children qualify as homeless if the children are living in circumstances described above.
Children and youth experiencing homelessness include those who meet the definition set out in the HEARTH act of 2009:
- Someone who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence
- Someone who has as a primary nighttime residence a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground
- Someone living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements
- Someone who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and who is exiting an institution where he or she temporarily resided
- Someone who will imminently lose their housing, including housing they own, rent, or live in without paying rent; housing they are sharing with others; and rooms in hotels or motels; and who has no subsequent residence identified, and lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing
- A family that has experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing, has experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves over such period, and can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment
The sheltered homeless are those who have used a federally supported housing shelter in the past 12 months.
Estimates for students experiencing homelessness also include those who are “doubled up,” meaning that they do not have a permanent housing situation and instead stay with extended family members, friends, or someone else.
 U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2017). The condition of education: Homeless children and youth in public schools. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_tgh.asp#f4.
 American Institutes for Research, National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). America’s youngest outcasts 2010: State report card on child homelessness. Retrieved from https://www.ieccwa.org/uploads/IECC2014/HANDOUTS/KEY_2775948/AYO2010FactSheet_121211.pdf.
Child Trends. (2019). Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/indicators/homeless-children-and-youth.