While probably everyone has some idea of what it means to be homeless, in the context of service delivery and the development of strategies to prevent and end homelessness, it’s important to be precise.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are four categories of homelessness:
Literally Homeless – An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:
Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation;
Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); or
Is exiting an institution where (s)he 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.