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Glossary of Terms:

Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR): The AHAR is the annual report that HUD submits to the U.S. Congress. The report provides nationwide estimates of homelessness, including information on the demographic characteristics of homeless persons, service use patterns, and the capacity to house homeless persons. The report is based primarily on HMIS data.


Coordinated Assessment/Entry System (CAS/CES): Coordinated Assessment/coordinated entry is a consistent, community wide intake process that is used to match people experiencing homelessness to existing community resources that are the best fit for their situation. Coordinated assessment maximizes the use of available resources and minimizes the time and frustration people spend while trying to find assistance. It also identifies and quantifies housing and service gaps and thereby enables effective and efficient systems planning.


Chronically Homeless (CH): According to HUD definition, a chronically homeless individual is a homeless individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven or in an emergency shelter, or in an institutional care facility. The individual must have been living in any of the above described places either continuously for at least 12 months or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last three years. Chronically homeless families are families with adult heads of households who meet the definition of a chronically homeless individual. If there is no adult in the family, the family would still be considered chronically homeless if the minor head of household meets all the criteria of a chronically homeless individual.


Continuum of Care (CoC): The Continuum of Care is a broad spectrum of stakeholders dedicated to ending and preventing homelessness. The key responsibilities of the CoC are - ensuring community-wide implementation of efforts to end homelessness, as well as ensuring programmatic and systemic effectiveness.

Cold Weather Shelter Program (CWSP): Managed by OSH, the cold weather shelter provides shelters in various locations in the County during the cold weather months. The shelters operate from November end to March end each year and provide respite from the cold weather to the homeless people.

Emergency Shelters (ES): An emergency shelter is a place for homeless people to live temporarily. Most emergency shelters provide shelter for a specific time-period e.g. 90 days after which the individual or family is expected to vacate it.

Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG): Formerly known as the Emergency Shelter Grant, the HUD Emergency Solutions Grant provides funding for homelessness prevention and re-housing as well as emergency shelter.

E-snaps: The electronic grants management system managed by HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP). It supports the annual Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Application and the Annual Performance Reporting (APR).


Fair Housing Act (FHA): Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601. The Fair Housing Act is a broad statute that prohibits discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status in most housing and housing-related transactions.

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH Act): The HEARTH Act of May 2009 amends and reauthorizes the earlier McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The HEARTH Act puts a greater focus on performance and flexibility.

Housing Inventory Count (HIC): The HIC provides information about all of the beds and units in a Continuum of Care homeless system.

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS): Help Management Information System or Homeless Management Information System. The HMIS is a secure online database that stores data on all homelessness services provided in the Central Sierra Foothill Region.

Homelessness Prevention: Homelessness prevention focuses on individuals and households at risk of homelessness in the community and provides critical homeless prevention resources and services to them.

Housing First: Housing First is an approach to address homelessness. In the last few years, Housing First has become one of the most popular models for serving chronically homeless people. This approach is based on the understanding that homelessness is primarily a lack of housing and the fastest way to help a person out of homelessness is to provide that person with housing. The housing first approach focuses on providing housing as quickly as possible and subsequently providing services as needed and desired by the program participants.

Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs are based on the Housing First Model.

HUD: HUD is the federal government’s Housing and Urban Development. OSH receives more than $20 million from HUD each year for the HUD-CoC, CBDG-HOME and other programs.

HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH): The HUD-VASH program combines HUD’s Housing Choice voucher (HCV) – rental assistance for homeless veterans and their families with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at its medical centers and in the community.

Literally Homeless: As per HUD definition, a literally homeless individual or family is an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. The individual’s or family’s primary nighttime residence is a public or private place not meant for human habitation. Or the individual or family is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter or is exiting an institution where (s) he has lived for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering the institution.

Mental Health Services Act (MHSA): Passed in 2004, the California MHSA provides increased funding, personnel and other resources to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition age youth, adults, older adults and families.

National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH): The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a

U.S. based non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. The Alliance is a leading voice on the issue of homelessness.


Notification/Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA): Each year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases a NOFA signifying the beginning of a funding competition among approximately 450 Continuums of Care (CoCs). HUD also releases a NOFA for the CDBG and HOME programs.

Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH): The grant funds services for people with serious mental illness (SMI) experiencing homelessness.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program: Permanent Supportive Housing program provides permanent housing and supportive services to chronically homeless individuals and families. The target population for permanent supportive housing program are chronically homeless individuals with a disability. The program focuses on the population that has high acuity and high costs. The program provides rental subsidy, intensive case management and health care (including behavioral health) to the program participants. There is usually no time limit for the program. PSH has been seen to have a high impact on housing stability. Nationally 84% of program participants have been observed to retain housing for at least a year.

Point-in-Time (PIT) Count: Point-in-Time Count refers to the Homeless Census and Survey that is undertaken every two years in the last ten days of January. It is mandatory for all jurisdictions receiving funding from HUD to undertake the Point-in-Time Count. The data gathered from the count helps our counties and local homeless service providers to better understand the needs of the community, evaluate the current system of services, and apply for federal and local funding.

Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA): Project-based Rental Assistance is different from Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA). Both the TBRA and the PRA are rental assistance subsidy programs but while the PRA is associated to particular residential units, TBRA is not associated to particular units and can be used to obtain housing in any unit that meets the program guidelines.

RRH (Rapid Rehousing program): Rapid rehousing is an intervention that has been seen to be a successful model in addressing the issue of homelessness in different parts of the country. There are three core-components of rapid rehousing– 1. Housing identification, 2. Move-in and rent assistance and 3. Rapid rehousing case management and services. The clients are provided shallow or declining rent subsidy, other temporary financial assistance and time-limited case management. It has been observed that rapid rehousing helps individuals and families to quickly exit homelessness, return to housing in the community and not become homeless again in the near future.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.

Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT): The SPDAT is an assessment tool that is designed to be used for program assessment and case management. The SPDAT is more detailed and robust as compared to the VI-SPDAT.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): SSVF is a community-based grants program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program provides supportive services to very low-income Veteran families in or transitioning to permanent housing.

Supportive Housing Program (SHP): The SHP is a former HUD program that helps develop and provide housing and related supportive services for people moving from homelessness to independent, supportive living. The HEARTH Act consolidated the SHP, the shelter plus care (S+C) and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation SRO program into a single program – the Continuum of Care program.

Transition Age Youth (TAY): Transition Age youth are young people between the age of 16(or

18) and 24 who are in transition from state custody or foster care and are at-risk. When they turn 18, they can no longer receive the services.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TRA or TBRA): TBRA is a rental assistance subsidy that can be used to obtain housing in any unit that meets the program guidelines. The main form of TBRA is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

Transitional Housing (TH): Transitional housing is temporary, supportive housing for people. Transitional housing is generally provided for a limited time period –from 2 weeks to 24 months.


VI-SPDAT: Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool. The VI-SPDAT is a part of the coordinated assessment process. The tool is used at the time of intake. It considers the household’s situation and identifies the best type of housing/supportive services intervention to address the household’s situation.

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