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Where Does Homelessness Happen?
Understanding the Definitions of Homelessness

Resource Topic: Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), Special and Vulnerable Populations

Resource Subtopic: Community, Health, and Housing Partnerships.

Keywords: Data Collection, Management, and Analytics, Housing, Persons Experiencing Homelessness, Uniform Data System (UDS).

Year Developed: 2021

Resource Type: Other.

Primary Audience: Administrative Staff Clinicians Enabling Staff Outreach Staff
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs, CMOs, etc.) PCAs

Language: English

Developed by: National Health Care for the Homeless Council (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: This infographic succinctly depicts the various shelter arrangements that constitute the breadth of homelessness, distinguishing major differences between federal definitions, with considerations for screening.

Resource Details: Homelessness often connotes a specific image of a person’s living arrangement, usually associated with panhandling or sleeping in public spaces. But this stereotype is too narrow, reinforces stigma, and leaves out many who fit the Health and Human Services (HHS) definition. The existence of multiple federal definitions can complicate health care providers’ understanding of homelessness. This infographic succinctly depicts the various shelter arrangements that constitute the breadth of homelessness, distinguishing major differences between federal definitions, with considerations for screening. It can be supplemented with additional training on trauma-informed, destigmatizing screening practices, in addition to corresponding shelter categories in the Uniform Data System (UDS).

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,625,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.