Opening Doors Northwest Florida

Youth, Schools, and the Department of Education

While HUD has its definitions of homelessness, these aren't the definitions used by schools, who tend to make their own counts of homeless children and families.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

This is the definition used most by schools, including schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

For someone to be considered a homeless child or youth by McKinney-Vento, they must be a child or youth (meaning under the age of 21) and lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes camp grounds, hotels, emergency shelters, hospital abandonment, living in cars, parks, or other places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for people.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act resources

Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

This is the definition used by agencies that specifically focus on runaway and homeless unaccompanied youth.

To meet this definition of homelessness, individuals must be 21 years old or younger. It must also not be possible for them to live in a safe environment with a relative and have no other safe alternative living arrangement. This definition, however, does not include youth that are accompanied by family or caregivers.

Runaway Homeless Youth Act resources