HUD Issues Proposed Rule for Rural Housing Program, Revisions to Chronic Homeless Definition
On March 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a proposed rule that establishes regulations for the Rural Housing Stability Program (RHSP). RHSP was authorized by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act that President Obama signed into law on May 20, 2009. The proposed rule also includes a revision to the definition of 'chronically homeless.'
As the program's name suggests, RHSP was designed for the unique homeless issues that rural counties face. RHSP is intended to improve the housing situations of individuals or families who are homeless or in the worst case housing situations in specific rural locales. The regulations proposed by HUD include information on how to apply for RHSP funds, eligible activities, and program requirements.
The revised definition of 'chronically homeless' included in the proposed rule is intended to better target persons with the longest histories of homelessness and the highest level of need. HUD previously proposed that those who had been homeless, "on at least four separate occasions in the last 3 years, each separate occasion must be at least 15 days in duration," would qualify as chronically homeless. However, feedback led HUD to revise this definition to better focus on persons with longer homeless occasions. Specifically, the revision removes the provision that each homeless occasion must be at least 15 days and instead states that the "cumulative total of the four occasions is at least one year."
Comments on the proposed rule are due on May 28, 2013.