Expanding HUD's Definition of Homelessness

Congress is in the midst of discussing whether or not more people ought to be eligible for homeless services. But without any additional funding to go with it, some argue that a broadened definition of homelessness may be unrealistic.

"For more than 20 years, federal housing law has counted as homeless only people living on the streets or in shelters. But now the House and the Senate are considering an expansion of the definition to include people precariously housed: those doubled up with friends or relatives or living day to day in motels, with money and options running out."

"The outcome of the discussions will most likely broaden the categories of people eligible for emergency shelter, housing and other services provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $1.7 billion budget for the homeless, which accounts for most federal spending on homelessness. Bush administration officials support the narrow expansion under consideration in the House.

But none of the bills come with any additional financing. And with too few shelter beds and services available to help the homeless who are already living on the streets, the debate over whether to expand significantly the pool of people eligible for such limited aid has sharply divided advocates for the homeless and upended political alliances."

Full Story: Capitol Strives to Define ‘Homeless’


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