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The Federal Government Wants Suggestions for a Revised Definition of 'Homelessness'

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Photo by Seven_Null7 via Flickr

Photo by Seven_Null7 via Flickr
The federal government is looking for a new definition of homelessness and they are taking suggestions and comments from the public. How would you define it?

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the current definition of homeless is “an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate, nighttime residence.” But under the HEARTH (Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing) Act, signed into law May 2009, HUD must revise those definitions.

In their latest e-mail newsletter about the homeless, the city of Santa Monica's Human Services Division, which focuses heavily on providing shelter and other services for the homeless individuals deemed most vulnerable, asks residents to take part in redefining terms such as “homeless”, “”homeless individual” and “homeless person”.

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Many feel that the homeless population is greatly underestimated because of the strict HUD definition of homelessness, which therefore cuts off entire groups of people from assistance and services.

HUD is now accepting comments on the proposed ruling for those interested in the new definition. The public can submit them here up until June 21, 2010.