Homelessness often connotes a specific image of a person’s living arrangement, usually associated with panhandling or sleeping in public spaces. But this stereotype is too narrow, reinforces stigma, and leaves out many who fit the Health and Human Services (HHS) definition. The existence of multiple federal definitions can complicate health care providers’ understanding of homelessness. This infographic succinctly depicts the various shelter arrangements that constitute the breadth of homelessness, distinguishing major differences between federal definitions, with considerations for screening. It can be supplemented with additional training on trauma-informed, destigmatizing screening practices, in addition to corresponding shelter categories in the Uniform Data System (UDS). To learn more about why and how to screen for housing insecurity, read Ask & Code: Documenting Homelessness Throughout the Health Care System.
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