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What is the official definition of homelessness?
HUD Definition of Homelessness
The HEARTH Act, passed in May 2009, amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and included a revised definition of homeless that applied to HUD's Homeless Assistance Programs. On December 5, 2011 HUD commenced its rulemaking process by publishing the Final Rule Defining Homeless (76 FR 75994). This rule amended the definition of HUD's existing homeless programs - the Shelter Plus Care Program (24 CFR 582), the Supportive Housing Program (24 CFR 583), the Emergency Solutions Grants Program (24 CFR Part 576) - and incorporated the revised homeless definition into the Consolidated Plan regulation (24 CFR Part 91). Subsequently, HUD adopted the same definition in its Continuum of Care Program (24 CFR 578).
As described in the preamble of the Final Rule Defining Homeless, the final rule establishes four categories of homelessness. These categories are:
(1) Individuals and families who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes a subset for an individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or a place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution
(2) Individuals and families who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence
(3) Unaccompanied youth and families with children and youth who are defined as homeless under other federal statutes who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this definition
(4) Individuals and families who are fleeing, or are attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member
There is more than one “official” definition of homelessness.
Health centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) use the following:
A homeless individual is defined in section 330(h)(5)(A) as “an individual who lacks housing (without regard to whether the individual is a member of a family), including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” A homeless person is an individual without permanent housing who may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation. [Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C., 254b)]
An individual may be considered to be homeless if that person is “doubled up,” a term that refers to a situation where individuals are unable to maintain their housing situation and are forced to stay with a series of friends and/or extended family members. In addition, previously homeless individuals who are to be released from a prison or a hospital may be considered homeless if they do not have a stable housing situation to which they can return. A recognition of the instability of an individual’s living arrangements is critical to the definition of homelessness. (HRSA/Bureau of Primary Health Care, Program Assistance Letter 99-12, Health Care for the Homeless Principles of Practice) (www.nhchc.org)
Homelessness in Oregon
Rural Oregon Continuum of Care (ROCC)
2015 CoC Continuum of Care Funding Application
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