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Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP) Regulations and Chronically Homeless Definition Published March 27, 2013

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH Act), enacted into law on May 20, 2009, authorized the Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP). 
  • The purpose of RHSP is to rehouse or improve the housing situations of individuals and families who are homeless or in the worst housing situations in the geographic area; stabilize the housing of individuals and families who are in imminent danger of losing housing; and improve the ability of the lowest-income residents of the community to afford stable housing.
  • The RHSP regulation adopts the homeless definition, as implemented in the final Homeless Definition regulation, so HUD recommends that applicants refer to that regulation for further information about the definition and documentation of homelessness.
  • Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding the RHSP rule, including the chronically homeless definition, through May 28, 2013. Comments may be submitted to HUD either by mail or electronic submission at www.regulations.gov. For more information about submitting a comment, see page 2 of RHSP proposed rule
Definition of Chronically Homeless
  • The RHSP proposed rule includes a  new proposed definition of “chronically homeless” which specifically defines what is meant by an occasion of homelessness in order to better target persons with the longest histories of homelessness and the highest level of need. HUD is seeking public comment on this new definition.
  • This proposed rule establishes a definition of “chronically homeless” that aids HUD and local jurisdictions to better estimate the number of chronically homeless, and will aid HUD and local jurisdictions in targeting resources to strategies designed to reduce the number of chronically homeless. HUD is publishing this definition again to provide the public an additional opportunity to comment based on the changes HUD made resulting from the previous public comments. 
  • The definition of “chronically homeless” will apply to all of HUD’s homeless assistance programs. Therefore, at the conclusion of the public comment period of this proposed rule, HUD plans to review the public comments on the definition and incorporate a final definition of chronically homeless into the final rules for the Continuum of Care (CoC) program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, and the corresponding amendments to the Consolidated Plan.


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