Homelessness Blog

The definition of those who are experiencing homelessness includes:

  • An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, such as those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or places not meant for habitation, or
  • An individual or family who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence (within 14 days), provided that no subsequent housing has been identified and the individual/family lacks support networks or resources needed to obtain housing, or
  • Unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age, or families with children and youth who qualify under other Federal statutes, such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, have not had a lease or ownership interest in a housing unit in the last 60 or more days, have had two or more moves in the last 60 days, and who are likely to continue to be unstably housed because of disability or multiple barriers to employment, or
  • An individual or family who is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, has no other residence, and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

The definition of those who are at risk of homelessness includes individuals and families who:

  • Have an annual income below 30 percent of median family income for the area, as determined by HUD, and
  • Do not have sufficient resources or support networks, immediately available to prevent them from moving to an emergency shelter or place not meant for habitation, and
  • Exhibit one or more risk factors of homelessness, including recent housing instability or exiting a publicly funded institution or system of care such as foster care or a mental health facility

Stable housing is closely linked to successful HIV outcomes. With safe, decent, and affordable housing, people with HIV are better able to access medical care and supportive services, get on HIV treatment, take their HIV medication consistently, and see their health care provider regularly. In short: the more stable your living situation, the better you do in care.

Individuals with HIV who are homeless or lack stable housing, on the other hand, are more likely to delay HIV care and less likely to access care consistently or to adhere to their HIV treatment.

Throughout many communities, people with HIV risk losing their housing due to such factors as stigma and discrimination, increased medical costs and limited incomes or reduced ability to keep working due to HIV-related illnesses.

Sources: https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/living-well-with-hiv/taking-care-of-yourself/housing-and-health https://soarworks.prainc.com/article/definitions-homelessness


Chronically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions (e.g. chronic physical or mental illness, substance abuse problems), who are currently homeless and have been homeless for six months or more in the past year (i.e., have spent more than 180 cumulative nights in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation).


Episodically homeless refers to individuals, often with disabling conditions, who are currently homeless and have experienced three or more episodes of homelessness in the past year (of note, episodes are defined as periods when a person would be in a shelter or place not fit for human habitation, and after at least 30 days, would be back in the shelter or inhabitable location).

The definitions of chronically and episodically homeless individuals include all sub-populations, such as Veterans and/or Aboriginals. The definitions also include individuals exiting institutions (e.g. child welfare system, mental health facilities, hospitals, and correctional institutions) who have a history of chronic and episodic homelessness and cannot identify a fixed address upon their release. (https://www.homelesshub.ca/ )


Having a stable home that provides a sense of security and support for a child is one of the basic requirements for their wellbeing.

A stable home provides a child with a sense of place where they belong and feel safe, where their friends and extended family can visit, where they keep their possessions, and a base from which they can attend school and engage positively with their local community.

A child who is a member of a homeless family does not have this stability and can be affected by a wide range of issues that put their welfare and healthy development at risk.

High levels of stress, a variety of physical and mental health problems, friction between family members, fewer positive connections with friends and others in the community and poor performance at school as a result of inconsistent attendance are all associated with homelessness, and all have a potential lifelong impact on a child’s wellbeing. (https://thewest.com.au/opinion/stable-home-life-key-to-a-childs-development-ng-ya-111542)

Transitional Homelessness

This is one of the more common types of homelessness. This form of homelessness is defined as affecting a person that is going through a major life change or catastrophic event. Many times when people lose their jobs suddenly and unexpectedly they can face transitional homelessness while they look for a new job.


Homelessness and Sex Work

For some people, sex work stems from a background of poverty, addiction, lack of education and abuse Some people experiencing homelessness turn to sex work as means of staying alive or obtaining the necessities of life. Known as “survival sex” this includes the exchange of sex for money, as well as food, clothing, shelter or a place to stay. This is particularly common amongst female street youth, but also affects men, women and transgendered individuals of all ages.



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