What Does It Mean to Be Homeless? How Definitions Affect Homelessness Policy

By Andrew Sullivan (University of Central Florida) | Organizations and policymakers have recently brought the definition of homelessness to the forefront, including multiple reports by the Government Accountability Office, and the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2021 which was introduced but not passed. Much of this debate stems from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) not including households living doubled-up – i.e., sharing housing due to economic hardship, loss of housing, or a similar reason – as homeless, contrary to many other definitions of homelessness. As such, reviewing how federal agencies measure homelessness provides insight into how they define the problem of housing insecurity and what impacts measurement has on determining where services are most needed. How scholars and policymakers define homelessness alters its measurement and perceived prevalence, driving where agencies target assistance and shaping policy solutions. Read More

February 1, 2023 // 0 Comments