Definition of Homelessness

Anyone who, due to a lack of housing, lives:

  • In emergency or transitional shelters;
  • In motels, hotels, trailer parks, campgrounds, abandoned in hospitals, or awaiting foster care placement;
  • In cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings;
  • Doubled up with relatives or friends;
  • In these conditions and is a child or youth not in the physical custody of an adult (unaccompanied youth*);
  • In these conditions and is a migratory child or youth.

To determine homelessness, consider the permanence and adequacy of the living situation.

*  Unaccompanied youth – a youth without fixed, regular, and adequate housing who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.  This would include runaways living in homeless situations and those denied housing by their families (sometimes referred to as throwaway children and youth).

Barbara Fisher, Homeless and Foster Care Liaison
Arlington Public Schools
Office of Student Services,
Syphax Education Center, 2110 Washington Blvd, Arlington VA 22204
Office:  703-228-2585