Date Published: January 2014
No. Youth who are within 14 days of exiting the foster care system who have not identified other permanent housing and who have no other resources or support networks to obtain permanent housing are not defined as homeless under Category 2 of the definition of homeless. This is different than how HUD operationalized eligibility for Transitional Housing and Supportive Service Only projects under the Supportive Housing Program.
The HEARTH Act amendments changed the definition of homeless for HUD’s Homeless Assistance programs and HUD began implementing the changes through the FY2011 Homeless Assistance Grants Program competition. In most instances, the definition was broadened; however, in this one instance, the definition was narrowed.
The statutory language in Section 103(5), which HUD further clarified through the regulations, defines as homeless, “An individual who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and who is exiting an institution where he or she temporarily resided.” Through the regulation, HUD further clarified that individuals exiting systems of care, including institutions and foster care, are no longer defined as homeless if they have resided there for more than 90 days and were not previously living on the streets or in emergency shelter prior to entering the institution or system of care. This means that unaccompanied youth being emancipated from the foster care system are not defined as homeless under Category 1, unless they are residing on the streets or in an emergency shelter at the point of intake.
Additionally, HUD has determined that individuals exiting institutions, or systems of care, are not defined as homeless under paragraph (2) of the definition of homeless even if they are within 14-days of discharge an no subsequent residence has been identified. This means that unaccompanied youth who are being emancipated from the foster care system are not defined as homeless under Category 2, and are therefore not eligible for those projects that serve Category 2 in the CoC Program.
These youth, however, may be defined as Category 3 of the homeless definition if the following conditions are met:
A youth who is defined as homeless under Category 3 of the homeless definition may only be eligible for transitional housing if the CoC has received approval from HUD to serve this population. If the youth does not meet criteria described above, then he or she could be considered at-risk of homelessness. To meet the “at-risk of homelessness” definition, an individual must have an annual income below 30 percent of the median family income for the area, as determined by HUD, not have sufficient resources or support networks to prevent him or her from moving to an emergency shelter or other place not intended as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, and is exiting a publicly funded institution, or system of care (such as a mental health facility). A person who is defined as "at risk of homelessness" may be eligible for a homelessness prevention program under the Emergency Solutions Grants program.