Select Page

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.

Download a printable version here.


Subscribe today to Receive our latest e-newsletters

This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,967,147 with 20 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

Copyright © 2022 National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc. 

604 Gallatin Ave., Suite 106 | Nashville, TN 37206 | (615) 226-2292
Privacy and Payment Policies