31 May 2012

Defining homelessness

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Attempts to work across sectors to address homelessness have been complicated in years past in part due to different basic definitions of homelessness. Some recent changes from HUD might improve matters…

Whereas the McKinney-Vento Act (the school-based definition) has included a broader swath of students and families (including those who are doubled-up with family members), HUD used a narrower definition. As a result, schools and community-based agencies were often talking about slightly different populations when attempting to devise collaborative strategies to support those who were experiencing homelessness. However, in December 2011, HUD revised and expanded its definition. Although there are still some differences between this new definition and McKinney-Vento’s, they are considerably more similar today — which hopefully is an important step toward better cross-sector action. For more details on the HUD change, refer to:


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