Definitions

These definitions may help you assist clients in responding to data elements you are asked to collect upon Project Entry, Interim Update, or Project Exit. We recommend printing a copy to provide to your intake staff or case managers to have available during data collection.

 

Extent of Homelessness by Minnesota’s Definition: The State of Minnesota defines as homeless “any individual, unaccompanied youth or family that is without a permanent place to live that is fit for human habitation.”  Doubling-up is considered homeless if that arrangement has persisted less than 1 year.

The State of Minnesota defines an individual, unaccompanied youth or family as “Long-Term Homeless” if they are without a home for a year or more OR have had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.   Any period of institutionalization or incarceration (including transitional housing, prison/jail, treatment, hospitals, foster care, or refugee camps) shall be excluded when determining the length of time the household has been homeless.

HUD homeless definition: HUD Funded Program- HUD established four categories of Homelessness.

Literally Homeless: An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:

  1. Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation;
  2. 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
  3. 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

Imminent Risk of Homelessness: An individual or family who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence, provided that:

  1. Residence will be lost within 14 days of the date of application for homeless assistance;
  2. No subsequent residence has been identified; AND
  3. The individual or family lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing

Homeless Under other Federal Statutes: Unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age, or families with children and youth, who do not otherwise qualify as homeless as defined above, but who:

  1. Are defined as homeless under the other listed federal statues;
  2. Have not had a lease, ownership interest, or occupancy agreement in permanent housing during the 60 days prior to the homeless assistance application;
  3. Have experienced persistent instability as measured by two moves or more during the preceding 60 days; AND
  4. Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time due to special needs or barriers.

Fleeing/Attempting to Flee DV:  Any individual or family who:

  1. Is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  2. Has no other residence; AND
  3. Lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

Disability of Long Duration:  (1) a disability as defined in Section 223 of the Social Security Act; (2) a physical, mental, or emotional impairment which is (a) expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration, (b) substantially impedes an individual’s ability to live independently, and (c) of such a nature that such ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions; (3) a developmental disability as defined in Section 102 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act; (4) the disease of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or any conditions arising from the etiological agency for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; or (5) a diagnosable substance abuse disorder.

Documentation of the Disability: Physical disabilities, mental health problems, developmental disabilities, and chronic health conditions all require documentation for federal projects. Accepted forms of documentation include written verification from a state-licensed professional, such as a medical service provider or a health-care provider, the Social Security Administration, or the receipt of a disability check (i.e., SSDI check or VA disability benefit check).  For mental health problems, a state-licensed social worker can provide documentation.

Physical Disability: A physical impairment which is (a) expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration, (b) substantially impedes an individual’s ability to live independently, and (c) of such a nature that such ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions. Accepted forms of documentation include written verification from a state-licensed professional, such as a medical service provider or a health-care provider, the Social Security Administration, or the receipt of a disability check (i.e., SSDI check or VA disability benefit check).

Developmental Disability: A severe, chronic disability that is attributed to a mental or physical impairment (or combination of physical and mental impairments) that occurs before 22 years of age and limits the capacity for independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Accepted forms of documentation include written verification from a state-licensed professional, such as a medical service provider or a health-care provider, the Social Security Administration, or the receipt of a disability check (i.e., SSDI check or VA disability benefit check).

Chronic Health Condition: A diagnosed condition that is more than three months in duration and is either not curable or has residual effects that limit daily living and require adaptation in function or special assistance. Examples of chronic health conditions include, but are not limited to, heart disease (including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack and any other kind of heart condition or disease); severe asthma; diabetes; arthritis-related conditions (including arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia); adult onset cognitive developments (including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic distress syndrome, dementia, and other cognitive related conditions); severe headache/migraine; cancer; chronic bronchitis; liver condition; stroke; or emphysema. Accepted forms of documentation include written verification from a state-licensed professional, such as a medical service provider or a health-care provider, the Social Security Administration, or the receipt of a disability check (i.e., SSDI check or VA disability benefit check).

Mental Health Problem: May include serious depression, serious anxiety, hallucination, violent behavior or thoughts of suicide. A state-licensed social worker can provide documentation. Other accepted forms of documentation include written verification from a state-licensed professional, such as a medical service provider or a health-care provider, the Social Security Administration, or the receipt of a disability check (i.e., SSDI check or VA disability benefit check).

Recent Institutional History:  Definitions for some options:

  • Drug or Alcohol Treatment Facility: Includes inpatient treatment and detox.
  • Foster Home: This term applies to youth only.
  • Group Home: Includes all facilities for people with disabilities (cognitive or physical); may also be used for corrections clients. Includes adult foster care. Placement done through social services or corrections departments.
  • Half-way House: Includes placement for corrections clients after jail or prison OR for clients after chemical dependency treatment.
  • Mental Health Treatment Facility or Hospital: Includes regional treatment centers (state hospitals), Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS), crisis residences, and psychiatric inpatient units at local hospitals.
  • Residence for People with Physical Disabilities: Includes nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and rehab hospitals.

Permanent address: A permanent address is an apartment, house, or room where the client last lived for 90 days or more. Shelters and time-limited housing are not permanent addresses.

Domestic Violence: Ascertaining whether a person is a victim of domestic violence is necessary to provide the person with the appropriate services to prevent further abuse and to treat the physical and psychological injuries from prior abuse.  Also, ascertaining that a person may be experiencing domestic violence may be important for the safety of program staff and other clients.  At the aggregate level, knowing the size of the homeless population that has experienced domestic violence is critical for determining the resources needed to address the problem in this population. Special Issues: Programs should be especially sensitive to the collection of domestic violence information from clients and should implement appropriate interview protocols to protect client privacy and safety such as: asking this question in a private location and not in the presence of a romantic partner; delaying all entry of data about clients identified with a recent history of domestic violence; or choosing not to disclose data about clients with a history of domestic violence to other homeless programs.