The Federal Definition of Homelessness
On December 5, 2011, HUD published the final rule on the Definition of Homeless in the Federal Register and went into effect on January 4, 2012.
How Does the Rule Define Homelessness?
The final rule on the Definition of Homeless establishes four categories under which an individual or family may qualify as homeless. The categories are:
- Literally homeless – An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, meaning the individual or family has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation or is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living arrangements. This category also includes individuals who are exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately prior to entry into the institution.
- Imminent Risk of Homelessness – an individual or family who will imminently lose (within 14 days) their primary nighttime residence provided that no subsequent residence has been identified and the individual or family lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing.
- Homeless under other Federal Statutes – unaccompanied youth (under 25) or families with children and youth who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this definition and are defined as homeless under another federal statute, have not had permanent housing during the past 60 days, have experience persistent instability, and can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time.
- Fleeing/Attempting to Flee DV – any individual or family who is fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Who Does This New Rule Apply To?
The rule applies to programs funded by HUD differently depending on the type of program (formula or competitive) and, for competitive programs, when your operating year begins. The final rule applies to:
- All recipients of Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program funds.
- All recipients of SHP and S+C funding awarded through the FY 2011 CoC Competition at the point that their renewal award takes effect. For example, a project with a start date of May 1 would be subject to the new definition regulation on May 1 when their 2011 renewal grant agreement takes effect.
- This definition does not apply to HPRP programs or competitive projects that did not renew in the 2011 Continuum of Care competition.
Continuum of Care funded programs require verification of homelessness. TCHC and CoC agencies provide documentation of homelessness primarily through the Homeless Management Information System that records client data and history of services.