This is the fifth in a series of six posts explaining the major eligibility requirements to receive housing assistance. The focus of this post is on homeless status requirements.
Homeless status is required by many housing programs that have been created by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 2009, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was included in a larger piece of legislation, passed by Congress, and signed by President Barack Obama.
Before 2009, there was only one definition of homelessness. The Hearth Act provides four categories of homelessness and now every housing grant targets at least one of these categories.
- Literally homeless is the lack of fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, stays in a public or private place not meant for human habitation, or is living in a shelter that provides temporary living arrangements.
- Imminent risk of homelessness is when there’s imminent loss (less than 14 days) of primary nighttime residence, and no subsequent residence has been identified and lack the resources or supports needed to obtain other housing.
- Homeless under other federal statutes for families with children who do not otherwise qualify as homeless but a federal agency such as a school has defined the family as homeless.
- Fleeing/attempting to flee domestic violence is as stated and has no other residence and lack the resources or support to obtain other housing.
Other articles in this series: