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Definition

Who are homeless youth?
Youth who are not wards of the State (i.e. “non-ward youth”) are youth who are not in the custody of the state and therefore do not receive state supported services. They may be runaways or children/youth who have been thrown out of their homes due to any number of circumstances.

The federal Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines "homeless children and youth" as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes children and youth 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
  • are abandoned in hospitals
  • are awaiting foster care placement
  • 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

are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings



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