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Testing Alternative Definitions of Chronic Homelessness
Psychiatric Services (2015)
  • Thomas Byrne
  • Dennis P Culhane

Objective: This study examined the potential impact of a proposed change to the official federal definition of chronic homelessness.

Methods: Using administrative data from the emergency shelters in a large U.S. city, this study estimated the number of persons identified as chronically homeless under the current definition of chronic homelessness, a proposed new federal definition, and two alternative definitions and examined shelter utilization for each group.

Results: Fewer than half as many people were considered chronically homeless under the proposed new federal definition compared with the current definition. Persons considered chronically homeless by the proposed new definition and, to a lesser extent, by the twoalternative definitions,made heavier use of shelter comparedwith persons whomet the current definition.

Conclusions: A proposed new and two alternative definitions of chronic homelessness are better suited than the existing federal definition for identifying persons with the most protracted experiences of homelessness.

  • chronic homelessness
Publication Date
April, 2015
Citation Information
Thomas Byrne and Dennis P Culhane. "Testing Alternative Definitions of Chronic Homelessness" Psychiatric Services Vol. 66 Iss. 5 (2015)
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