Friday, March 4, 2011

Good news for couch-surfers on its way

Any day now we'll have new federal rules giving real effect to the 2009 HEARTH Act's broadened definition of homelessness. The good part is, it will define people as "homeless" who are not literally on the sidewalk or in a shelter, but who are living doubled up in others' households, or in some other kinds of uncomfortable transitional states. It means people won't have to worry so much about losing housing eligibility by accepting a friend or relative's invitation to sleep over temporarily.

The news came down today in a listserv email from HUD's Community Planning and Development (CPD) people, the ones who wrangle the homelessness programs. It says everyone is to stick to the old rules for now, but that
HUD is in the final stages of clearance for the new definition of homelessness, which will include changes made in response to the public comments that we received last summer. HUD plans to provide training on the new definition and will clearly state when the new definition will be effective.
When they say "comments," they're presumably talking about responses to the draft definition HUD posted last April (Homeless advocates' analysis brief here).

Eh, not a huge step forward, but it's something.

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