Definition of Homelessness


Definition of homelessness as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: 

A person is considered homeless only when he/she meets one or more of the criteria described below:

Literally Homeless

The individual or family lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:

  • has a primary nighttimes residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation;
  • is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living arrangements; OR
  • is exiting an institution where he/she has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution. 

In Imminent Risk of Homelessness

The individual or family will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence, provided that:

  • residence will be lost within 14 days of the date of this application; AND
  • 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

The individual under 25 years of age or the family with children who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this definition but who:

  • are defined as homeless under other federal statutes; AND
  • have not had a lease, ownership interest or occupancy agreement in permanent housing during the 60 days prior to the date of this application; AND
  • have experienced persistent instability as measured by two moves or more during the preceding 60 days; AND
  • can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time due to special needs or barriers.

Fleeing/Attempting to Flee Domestic Violence

The individual or family:

  • is fleeing, or is attempting to flee domestic violence; AND
  • has no other residence; AND
  • lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing.