Oscar and Juanita Hernandez have a four-year-old daughter, Rosa. They rent a two-bedroom apartment. Oscar is a construction worker. Juanita was a cashier in a community supermarket until it recently closed.
As a construction worker, Oscar was making a decent wage allowing Juanita ample time to look for another job. The construction company began to fall behind on its work production; however, and within one month after Juanita lost her job, Oscar lost his job.
Oscar and Juanita are now both unemployed. Unable to find employment, they quickly used their meager savings to meet their basic needs.
As everyday needs became increasingly more difficult to meet, Oscar called his brother, Luis, explained their situation and asked if he and his family could come and live with him.
Luis lives in a two-bedroom house with his wife and four children. Although Rosa loves living with her cousins and having someone to play with each day, Oscar and Juanita are keenly aware of how difficult it is becoming to live with Luis and his family.
According to section 725(2) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a(2)), the term “homeless children and youths”—
(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence...; and
(i) 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 accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
(ii) 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;
(iii) children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
(iv) migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
Children and youth are considered homeless if they fit both part A and any one of the subparts of part B of the definition above.
Rosa: Explore Information
Before you start the activity, do the following:
Consider Rosa’s circumstances.
Review the information in the links below.
If possible, discuss Rosa’s situation with a colleague.
Correct! Rosa and her family are homeless because they are staying temporarily with others. The work status of Rosa’s parents is not one of the criteria of the definition of homelessness.
The reason Rosa and her family are homeless is because they fit the McKinney-Vento Act definition of homelessness:
They do not have a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” and
They are “sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.”
Although Rosa and her family have a place to live and they are together, they are living in a doubled-up situation. This in itself does not mean Rosa and her family are experiencing homelessness, however, their doubled-up situation is caused by loss of housing. Even though they presently have a place to live, it is temporary and they could be asked to leave at any time.
For more information about homelessness, look on the ECLKC in Crisis Support under Family and Community Partnerships.
Not correct. Even though a family is living together, they might still be considered homeless if they meet the criteria of the McKinney-Vento Act. Think about these questions, review the Explore Information tab, and then try again:
Do Rosa and her family have a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence?
Do Rosa and her family have a temporary or permanent living arrangement?
Do Rosa and her family have their own residence?
Could Rosa’s relatives ask her and her family to leave at any time?
Is Rosa’s family sharing the home equally or are they more like guests in the home?
Did you listen to Grace, one of the collaboration directors, talk about doubled-up families?
IMPORTANT! As you consider this scenario and how it might compare to families you encounter in your work, remember that each family’s life situation is uniquely different.