The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines “homeless” in four categories:
However, the HUD definition of homeless fails to capture individuals and families who are “doubling up” or “couch-surfing”.
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Housing First is an approach to quickly and successfully connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry, such as sobriety, treatment or service participation requirements. Supportive services are offered to maximize housing stability and prevent returns to homelessness as opposed to addressing predetermined treatment goals prior to permanent housing entry.
The Point in Time Count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that Continuums of Care conduct an annual count of homeless persons who are sheltered in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and Safe Havens, and a count of unsheltered homeless persons every other year. Beginning in 2016, Nevada County’s Continuum of Care has opted to perform an annual Point in Time count of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons.
A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a local or regional body made up of local stakeholders who are committed to ending homelessness. Nevada County and Placer County participate in a regional Continuum of Care, which is coordinated by the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras (HRCS).
Nevada County Coordinating Council (NCCC): The NCCC is a subcommittee within the CoC that specifically discusses matters pertaining to Nevada County.
Placer Consortium on Homelessness (PCOH): The PCOH is a subcommittee within the CoC that specifically discusses matters pertaining to Placer County.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a chronically homeless person or family as an individual or family that:
“(i) is homeless and lives or resides in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter;
(ii) has been homeless and living or residing in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter continuously for at least 1 year or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last 3 years; and
(iii) has an adult head of household (or a minor head of household if no adult is present in the household) with a diagnosable substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (as defined in section 15002 of this title), post traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from a brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability, including the co-occurrence of 2 or more of those conditions”
Permanent supportive housing refers to long-term, low-barrier, affordable housing with supportive services that enable special needs populations to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting.
Rapid re-housing rapidly connects families and individuals experiencing homelessness to permanent housing through tools such as time-limited financial assistance and targeted supportive services.
In 2000, the National Alliance to End Homelessness put out a call to end homelessness in ten years, providing a blueprint with key strategies. In 2001, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) formally reinforced this challenge, and in 2002, all communities seeking HUD funding through the McKinney-Vento Continuum of Care grant application process were strongly encouraged to develop a Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) is a streamlined and standardized referral process to community resources for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis. Nevada County’s CES includes a vulnerability index, which ensures that those with the greatest needs receive priority for any type of available housing and homeless assistance.
HMIS is a software application that records characteristics, needs, and service provisions to individuals and families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
Emergency shelter is a facility with overnight sleeping accommodations, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness.
The HEARTH Act of 2009 amends and reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, resulting in updates including the definition of homeless and chronically homeless.
The McKinney-Vento Act, first enacted in 1987, is a major federal legislative response to homelessness, creating several valuable programs including protections for youth experiencing homelessness within the education system.
HUD defines affordable housing as housing for which the occupant(s) pay less than 30 percent of their income for gross housing costs, including utilities.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formally known as Section 8, is a federal HUD program that assists low-income individuals with affording decent housing in the private market. Housing Choice Vouchers are locally administered by the Regional Housing Authority of Sutter and Nevada Counties. Participants will pay no more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income towards rent, with a housing subsidy paid to the landlord for the remainder of the rent. Visit the Regional Housing Authority of Sutter and Nevada Counties’ website for more information about Housing Choice Voucher applicants and becoming a participating landlord.