All school-aged homeless children are entitled to the same free and appropriate public education that is provided to non-homeless students. Schools are required to remove barriers to the enrollment, attendance, and academic success of homeless students.

Definition of Homeless

Students between the ages of 0 and 22*, who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and includes:

A. has a primary nighttime residence that is a shelter designated to provide temporary living accommodations such as shelters, motels/hotels, domestic violence shelters, and transitional housing.

B. lives in a car, park, abandoned building, public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

C. lives temporarily in a trailer park or camping area due to the lack of adequate living accommodations.

D. lives “doubled-up" with another family, due to loss of housing, stemming from financial problems.

E. is abandoned at a hospital.

F. resides in a home for school-aged, unwed mother or mother-to-be, if there are no other available living accommodations.

G. is awaiting foster care in limited circumstances but does not include placement in a foster family, foster family agency or group home.

H. is placed by the state in an emergency shelter due to lack of alternative housing.

I. is an abandoned, runaway or pushed out youth or migratory child living in any of the circumstances described above.


*Extended beyond compulsory attendance age to address the needs of preschool, early head-start, and student with special education needs.

School Selection/Student Rights

Homeless student can attend the last school of enrollment, if feasible, or Homeless student can attend the school in the area where the family is temporarily residing.

• Student can remain at selected school site throughout the duration of homelessness. The school site is considered the school of origin.

• If the family gains permanent housing, the student can remain at the current school for the duration of that academic year.

• Homeless students who are not attending their school of residence do not have the right to attend the next matriculating school. The student must attend the school in the area in which he/she is temporarily residing.


Schools must immediately enroll homeless students, regardless of the lack of:

• Academic Records    • Proof of Residency   • Medical Records   • Immunization Records


The enrolling school shall immediately contact the last school of attendance to obtain missing records. 



Click on the title of the organization to find additional information about their services.




Waymakers Teen Shelter

Short-term, crisis intervention to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth in OC, Emergency shelter, 24 hour supervision, individual, group, and family counseling.

Laguna Beach: (949) 494-4311
Huntington Beach: (949) 842-6600 


Casa Youth Shelter

Short-term and long-term placement programs to provide basic needs for youth and individual, group, and family counseling.

(800) 914-CASA or (800-914-2272)


Hope Harbor (Formerly known as Laurel House)

Temporary housing and care for teen girls 12 - 17 who are runaways or at risk for homelessness because of volatile family situations. Need willingness and participation from both teen and parents. Need to call to initiate intake process to determine eligibility and suitability to program.

(714) 832-0207 





Families Forward

Help families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education, and other support services to OC families. 

(949) 552-2727 


FOR Families

Information, referral services, and short-term support for anyone living or working in Irvine needing assistance with services and resources.
Cost: Free for Irvine residents: $25 for non-residents.

(949) 724-6600


Project Hope Alliance

Education and support for homeless families.

(949) 722-7836