Determining the Homeless Status of Youth

HUD Provides Guidance

Addressing Youth HomelessnessOn October 9, 2015, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new guidance.

This guidance will:

  • Help intake workers determine and document the homeless status of youth using the definition of homelessness found in the Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) programs to prevent youth from being mistakenly turned away from housing and services
  • Reiterates the review procedures HUD officials had outlined during an April Senate hearing on youth homelessness

The guidance describes each of the four categories of homelessness according to living situation and the types of documents needed to certify a youth’s homeless status. The four categories are:

  • Literal Homelessness
  • Imminent Risk of Homelessness
  • Homeless Under Other Federal Statute
  • Fleeing Domestic Violence

According to HUD,

“Youth are not responsible for obtaining their own documentation. Instead, intake workers are responsible for documenting the youth’s homeless status by verifying information provided by the youth starting at the initial review. Using contact information or documents provided by the youth, the intake worker should obtain the information [required by the category of homelessness]. If at any point the youth does not want someone to be contacted because he or she fear for their safety, the intake worker SHOULD NOT contact the person and should document the youth’s feelings and statements in the case file. If the intake worker cannot obtain a higher level of documentation (e.g., a letter from a third-party) the youth can self-certify and the intake worker should document their effort to obtain a higher level of documentation, including notes about why they were not able to gain a higher level of documentation.”

Even after a service provider verifies a youth’s homelessness status, the provider still has to verify that the youth meets the criteria to be eligible for a specific project.

Click here for more information from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Click here for guidance.