Homeless Emergency and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act

On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. The HEARTH Act amends and reauthorizes the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with substantial changes, including:

  • A consolidation of HUD’s competitive grant programs;
  • The creation of a Rural Housing Stability Program;
  • A change in HUD’s definition of homelessness and chronic homelessness;
  • A simplified match requirement;
  • An increase in prevention resources; and,
  • An increase in the emphasis on performance.

To read the amended and reauthorized McKinney-Vento Act, see The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act as amended by S.896, The Homeless Emergency and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009.

HUD will publish proposed regulations for public comment in two stages. Proposed regulations on the definition of homelessness will be issued first, with the remainder of the proposed regulations issued later.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available, so please check back frequently.

Proposed Rule on the Definition of Homelessness

On April 20, 2010, HUD published the proposed rule for the definition of homelessness. The publication of the proposed rule commences HUD's regulatory process of the implementation of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH Act), enacted into law on May 20, 2009. This proposed rule only addresses the definition of the following terms: "homeless," "homeless individual," "homeless person," and "homeless individual with a disability."

The proposed rule clarifies that individuals and families may qualify as homeless under four possible categories, corresponding to the broad categories established by the statutory language of the definition in section 103 of the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the HEARTH Act. Comments on this proposed rule are no longer being accepted.