CoC Acronyms & Definitions

At-risk of Homelessness

An individual or family who has income below 30% of area median family income for the area, as defined by HUD, and who does not have sufficient resources or support networks immediately available to prevent them from moving into an emergency shelter or other place described in the “homeless” definition and meets one if the following definitions defined under 24 CFR 578.3 (CoC program) or 24 CFR 576.2 (ESG program). This may also include a child or youth who qualifies as homeless under other Federal programs.


Chronically Homeless

1. A ‘‘homeless individual with a disability,’’ as defined in section 401(9) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11360(9)), who: (i) Lives in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter; and (ii) Has been homeless and living as described in paragraph (1) (i) of this definition continuously for at least 12 months or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last 3 years, as long as the combined occasions equal at least 12 months and each break in homelessness separating the occasions included at least 7 consecutive nights of not living as described in paragraph (1) (i). (2) An individual who has been residing in an institutional care facility, including a jail, substance abuse or mental health treatment facility, hospital, or other similar facility, for fewer than 90 days and met all of the criteria in paragraph (1) of this definition, before entering that facility; or (3) A family with an adult head of household (or if there is no adult in the family, a minor head of household) who meets all of the criteria in paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition, including a family whose composition has fluctuated while the head of household has been homeless.


CoC – Continuum of Care

A group composed of representatives of relevant organizations, which generally includes nonprofit homeless providers; victim service providers; faith-based organizations; governments; businesses; advocates; public housing agencies; school districts; social services providers; mental health agencies; hospitals; universities; affordable housing developers; law enforcement; organizations that serve homeless and formerly homeless veterans, and homeless or formerly homeless persons that are organized to plan for and provide a system of outreach, engagement, and assessment; emergency shelter; rapid re-housing; transitional housing; permanent housing; and prevention strategies to address the various needs of homeless persons and persons at risk of homelessness for a specific geographic area.


Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

The codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States.



As defined in section 401(9) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11360(9)), an individual who can be diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (as defined in section 102 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 15002)), post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability.



Rapid Re-Housing Rental Assistance – Under the ESG Interim Rule, a recipient or subrecipient may provide a program participant with up to 24 months of rental assistance during any 3-year period. This assistance may be short-term rental assistance, medium-term rental assistance, payment of rental arrears, **or any combination of this assistance** (24 CFR 576.106(a)). Payment of rental or utility arrears assistance consists of a one-time payment of up to 6 months of rent or utility arrears, including any late fees on those arrears.

The ESG Interim Rule can be found here:


Developmental Disability

Defined in Section 102 of the Developmental Disability Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, and means a severe, chronic disability that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination, and is manifested before age 22, and is likely to continue indefinitely. It must result in substantial limitations in 3 or more major life activities (self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, or economic self-sufficiency) AND reflects need for special services or individualized support, or other form of assistance this is lifelong or extended duration.


Disabling Condition

A physical, mental, or emotional impairment, including an impairment caused by alcohol or drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or brain injury, which is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration, substantially impedes the person’s ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that such ability could be improved with more suitable housing conditions; a developmental disability as defined in Section 102 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance Bill of Rights Act of 200; or Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or any conditions arising from the etiologic agent for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, including infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).


Emergency Shelter

Any facility, the primary purpose of which is to provide a temporary shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of the homeless and which does not require occupants to sign leases or occupancy agreements.



Family includes, but is not limited to, regardless of marital status, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or gender identity, the followings: (1) A single person, who may be an elderly person, displaced person, disabled person, near-elderly person, or any other single person; or (2) A group of persons residing together, and such group includes, but is not limited to (a) A family with our without children (a child who is temporarily away from the home because of placement in foster care is considered a member of the family); (b) An elderly family; (c) A near-elderly family; (d) A disabled family; (e) A displaced family; and (f) The remaining member of a tenant family.



Housing Assessment and Resource Agencies – Michigan has implemented HARA’s across the state to serve as “single points of entry” for homeless persons. HARAs work with other service providers to ensure that access to homeless resources is optimized and based on assessment of need.



Housing Choice Voucher – A federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.



Homeless Management Information System means the information system designated by the Continuum of Care to comply with the HMIS requirements prescribed by HUD.


HMIS Lead Agency

The entity designated by the Continuum of Care to operate the HMIS on its behalf.



There are 4 categories within the definition of homelessness, as defined under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act); the most common definition being an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence under Category 1. CRITERIA FOR DEFINING HOMELESS is as follows:

  • Category 1 Literally Homeless Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning: (i) Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; (ii) Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); or (iii) Is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution
  • Category 2 Imminent Risk of Homelessness Individual or family who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence, provided that: (i) Residence will be lost within 14 days of the date of application for homeless assistance; (ii) No subsequent residence has been identified; and (iii) The individual or family lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other permanent housing
  • Category 3 Homeless under other Federal Statutes Unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age, or families with children and youth, who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this definition, but who: (i) Are defined as homeless under the other listed federal statutes; (ii) Have not had a lease, ownership interest, or occupancy agreement in permanent housing during the 60 days prior to the homeless assistance application; (iii) Have experienced persistent instability as measured by two moves or more during in the preceding 60 days; and (iv) Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time due to special needs or barriers
  • Category 4 Fleeing/ Attempting to Flee DV Any individual or family who: (i) Is fleeing, or is attempting to flee, domestic violence; (ii) Has no other residence; and (iii) Lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing


Homeless Prevention

A program targeted to individuals and families at risk of homelessness. Specifically, this includes those that meet the criteria under the “at risk of homelessness” definition at 576.2, as well as those who meet the criteria in Category 2, 3, and 4 of the “homeless definition and have an annual income below 30% of family median income for the area.


Housing First

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.


Permanent Housing

Community-based housing without a designated length of stay and includes both Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Re-housing.


Permanent Supportive Housing

Permanent housing in which supportive services are provided to assist homeless persons with a disability to live independently.


Physical, Mental or Emotional Impairment

Expected to be long-continuing or of indefinite duration; substantially impedes the person’s ability to live independently and could be improved by more suitable housing.


PBV – Project Based Vouchers

Are attached to a specific unit whose landlord contracts with the state or local public housing agency to rent the unit to low-income families. Families can move without losing rental assistance if another voucher is available.


QSOBAA – Qualified Services Organization Business Associates Agreement

The Agreement between agencies that elect to share information using the HMIS. The Agreement prevents the re-release of data and, in combination with the Participation Agreement, defines the rules of sharing.


Rapid Re-housing

Housing relocation and stabilization services and short- or medium-term rental assistance as necessary to help a homeless individual or family move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in that housing. Assistance may be provided for up to 24 months during any 3-year period, and may include rental arrear for up to six months, to eligible persons who qualify as homeless under Category 1 and 4 of the “homeless” definition.



An applicant that signs a grant agreement with HUD.


Severity of Service Needs

An individual for whom at least one of the following is true:

  • History of high utilization of crisis services, which include but are not limited to, emergency rooms, jails, and psychiatric facilities
  • Significant health or behavioral health challenges or functional impairments which require a significant level of support in order to maintain permanent housing.

Severe service needs should be identified and verified through the use of the VI-SPDAT, TAY-VI-SPDAT, or F-VI-SPDAT. The determination must not be based on a specific diagnosis or disability type, but only on the severity of needs of the individual.


Street Outreach

The act of reaching out to unsheltered homeless people; connecting them with emergency shelter, housing or critical services; and provide urgent, non-facility-based care to unsheltered homeless people who are unwilling or unable to access emergency shelter, housing, or an appropriate health facility.


SPDAT – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool

The SPDAT is an evidence-informed approach to assessing an individual’s or family’s acuity. The tool, across multiple components, prioritizes who to serve next and why, while concurrently identifying the areas in the person/family’s life where support is most likely necessary in order to avoid housing instability.


VI SPDAT – Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool

  • VI SPDAT – The VI-SPDAT allows communities to assess clients’ various health and social needs quickly and then match them to the most appropriate– rather than the most intensive– housing interventions available. In some cases, the VI-SPDAT may help make the case for Permanent Supportive Housing. In other cases, it may encourage practitioners to choose Rapid Rehousing or even to do nothing when clients are statistically likely to escape homelessness on their own. Because the tool is rooted in exhaustive research, service providers can be sure that the recommended intervention (or non-intervention) is the most appropriate path for the client in front of them.
  • TAY-VI-SPDAT – Transition Age Youth
  • F-VI-SPDAT – Families



A private nonprofit organization, State, local government, or instrumentality of State or local government that receives a subgrant from the recipient to carry out a project.



Tenant Based Rental Assistance – Is a rental subsidy that participating jurisdictions (PJs) can use to help individual house deposits. PJs may also assist tenants with utility deposits but only when HOME is also used for rental assistance or security deposits.


Transitional Housing

Facilitates the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within 24 months.


Unaccompanied Youth

Unaccompanied youth are persons under age 25 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian and are not a parent presenting with or sleeping in the same place as his/her child(ren). Unaccompanied youth are single youth, youth couples, and groups of youth presenting together as a household.


Victim Service Provider

A private nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This term includes rape crisis centers, battered women’s shelters, domestic violence transitional housing programs, and other programs.

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