Many states use the following, or very similar descriptions as guidelines to determine those situations in which a child or youth can be considered homeless:
A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter for the homeless (including family shelters, runaway youth shelters, and domestic violence shelters);
A child or youth sleeps at night in the home of a friend or relative because the child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence;
A child or youth sleeps at night in a shelter awaiting institutionalization, adoption, foster care, or other placement;
Runaway chldren or children who are abandoned; or,
A child or youth sleeps at night in a car, tent, an abandoned building, or other place not ordinarily used as a sleeping accommodation for human beings. Migratory children and unaccompanied youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) may be considered homeless if they meet the above definition.
Notice that educators must make a subjective decision about whether a child or youth lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate residence. This requires that an educator must make a judgment based on the specific circumstances of a child or youth’s living situation.
Oldtimer’s comment: Click for all the homeless youth articles
Note: this information is available on most school and state websites with slight variations. The above was combined from three such websites.