In an effort to capture the number of young people who do not go into shelter, the Senate has proposed a new bill to reform the way homeless people are counted. Al Jazeera America did a really nice story about the issue. We had this fight 10 years ago when the HEARTH Act was being debated. Advocates from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Youth wanted to align the definition of homelessness with the Department of Education definition.
The DoE uses a standard definition that we all think about when we think of homelessness. The HUD definition does not include those doubled up, coming out of jail, those within a few days of homelessness or those who regularly staying in a motel. Advocates from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and staff of HUD hated this idea to have one broad definition of homelessness. They felt that it would triple the population of homelessness overnight. It would make it impossible to count during their annual point in time counts. All the successes claimed by the Permanent Supportive housing movement would be lost with the stroke of a pen. What administration wants to be in office and preside over a time when homelessness increased by 200 to 300 percent in one year?
A compromise was struck by maintaining the HUD definition for most of the programs with additional hoops to jump through in order to be able to use a small piece of the federal funding to serve young people or families. This compromise is obviously not working, and so now Congress has proposed a change. NEOCH supports this change in the law to align the definitions of homelessness across the federal agencies. We oppose the Point in Time count as a huge waste of time, and we are not sure that the 100,000 homes created over the last five years are meeting the need of our most disabled and long term homeless people.
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry