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HUD Releases Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP) Regulations and Chronically Homeless Definition

March 28, 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 proposed rule for the new Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program (RHSP) was published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2013. The public comment period of 60 days began March 27, 2013, and closes May 28, 2013. As this is a proposed rule, it will not go into effect until a final rule is published. 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 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 programs. 

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