Area Covered

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

HUD Final Rule on HUD Definition of Chronic Homelessness December 4, 2015

Updated Definition of Chronic Homelessness

HUD Released the Final Rule on Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: Defining “Chronically Homeless” on 12/4/15.  The final rule defines chronic homelessness as follows:

 (1) A ‘‘homeless individual with a disability’’:

i.                    Lives in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter; and
ii.                  Has been homeless and living as described in paragraph (1)(i) above continuously for at least 12 months or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last 3 years, as long as the combined occasions equal at least 12 months and each break in homelessness separating the occasions included at least 7 consecutive nights of not living as described in paragraph (1)(i) above. Stays in institutional care facilities for fewer than 90 days will not constitute as a break in homelessness, but rather such stays are included in the 12-month total, as long as the individual was living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter immediately before entering the institutional care facility;

(2) An individual who has been residing in an institutional care facility, including a jail, substance abuse or mental health treatment facility, hospital, or other similar facility, for fewer than 90 days and met all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of this definition, before entering that facility; or

(3) A family with an adult head of household (or if there is no adult in the family, a minor head of household) who meets all of the criteria in paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition, including a family whose composition has fluctuated while the head of household has been homeless.

Definition of Disability
Disabling Condition:
(1) A condition that: (i) Is expected to be long-continuing or of indefinite duration; (ii) Substantially impedes the individual’s ability to live independently; (iii) Could be improved by the provision of more suitable housing conditions; and (iv) Is a physical, mental, or emotional impairment, including an impairment caused by alcohol or drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or brain injury; (2) A developmental disability, as defined in this section; or (3) The disease of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or any conditions arising from the etiologic agent for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).




Record Keeping Requirements

The final rule also establishes the following Recordkeeping requirements.

 (4) The recipient must maintain and follow written intake procedures to ensure compliance with the chronically homeless definition.  The procedures must require documentation at intake of the evidence relied upon to establish and verify chronically homeless status. The procedures must establish the order of priority for obtaining evidence as third-party documentation first, intake worker observations second, and certification from the person seeking assistance third. Records contained in an HMIS, or comparable database used by victim service or legal service providers, are acceptable evidence of third-party documentation and intake worker observations if the HMIS, or comparable database, retains an auditable history of all entries, including the person who entered the data, the date of entry, and the change made, and if the HMIS prevents overrides or changes of the dates on which entries are made.

(i) Evidence that the individual is a ‘‘homeless individual with a disability’’ must include:

A.      Evidence of homeless status as set forth in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and
B.      Evidence of a disability. The procedures must require documentation at intake of the evidence relied upon to establish and verify the disability of the person applying for homeless assistance. The recipient must keep these records for 5 years after the end of the grant term.

Acceptable evidence of the disability includes:
1.      Written verification of the disability from a professional licensed by the state to diagnose and treat the disability and his or her certification that the disability is expected to be long continuing or of indefinite duration and substantially impedes the individual’s ability to live independently;
2.      Written verification from the Social Security Administration;
3.      The receipt of a disability check (e.g., Social Security Disability Insurance check or Veteran Disability Compensation);
4.      Intake staff-recorded observation of disability that, no later than 45 days from the application for assistance, is confirmed and accompanied by evidence described under numbers 1 through 3 above.
5.      Other documentation approved by HUD.
(ii) Evidence that the individual lives in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter, which includes:
A.      An HMIS record or record from a comparable database;
B.      A written observation by an outreach worker of the conditions where the individual was living;
C.      A written referral by another housing or service provider; or
D.     Where evidence in described in A through C above cannot be obtained, a certification by the individual seeking assistance, which must be accompanied by the intake worker’s documentation of the living situation of the individual or family seeking assistance and the steps taken to obtain evidence in A through C directly above. (SEE LIMITATIONS ON USE OF SELF-CERTIFICATION EVIDENCE BELOW)

(iii) Evidence must meet the following conditions:
A.      Third-party documentation of a single encounter with a homeless service provider on a single day within 1 month is sufficient to consider an individual as homeless and living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter for the entire calendar month (e.g., an encounter on May 5, 2015, counts for May 1—May 31, 2015), unless there is evidence that there have been at least 7 consecutive nights not living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter during that month (e.g., evidence in HMIS of a stay in transitional housing);
B.      Each break in homelessness of at least 7 consecutive nights not living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter between separate occasions must be documented with the evidence described in paragraphs (a)(4)(ii)(A) through (D) of this section (highlighted in yellow above)
C.      Evidence of stays in institutional care facilities fewer than 90 days included in the total of at least 12 months of living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter must include the evidence in paragraphs (a)(4)(iv)(A) through (B) of this section (highlighted in green below) and evidence described in paragraphs (a)(4)(ii)(A) through (D) of this section (highlighted in yellow above) that the individual was living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter immediately prior to entering the institutional care facility; and
D.     For at least 75 percent of the chronically homeless individuals and families assisted by a recipient in a project during an operating year, no more than 3 months of living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or an emergency shelter may be documented using a certification by the individual seeking assistance. This limitation does not apply to documentation of breaks in homelessness between separate occasions, which may be documented entirely based on a self-report by the individual seeking assistance.

(iv) If an individual qualifies as chronically homeless under paragraph (2) of the ‘‘Chronically homeless’’ definition in § 578.3 because he or she has been residing in an institutional care facility for fewer than 90 days and met all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of the definition, before entering that
facility, evidence must include the following:

A.      Discharge paperwork or a written or oral referral from a social worker, case manager, or other appropriate official of the institutional care facility stating the beginning and end dates of the time residing in the institutional care facility. All oral statements must be recorded by the intake worker; or
B.      Where the evidence in paragraph (a)(4)(iv)(A) of this section is not obtainable, a written record of the intake worker’s due diligence in attempting to obtain the evidence described in paragraph “A” directly above and a certification by the individual seeking assistance that states that he or she is exiting or has just exited an institutional care facility where he or she resided for fewer than 90 days; and
C.      Evidence that the individual lived in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter immediately prior to entry into the institutional care facility.
(v) If a family qualifies as chronically homeless, evidence must demonstrate that the adult head of household (or if there is no adult in the family, a minor head of household) met all of the criteria of chronic homelessness.

Timeline for Implementation
Continuum of Care Program recipients must comply with the regulations promulgated by this rule for all program participants admitted after January 15, 2016. The regulations promulgated by this rule do not apply retroactively to program participants admitted to a Continuum of Care Program project prior to January 15, 2016.
Link to Full Text of the Final Rule
The full text of the final rule defining chronic homelessness can be found at this link:

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