Shelter Plus Care Policy Guide: Eligible Participants

To be eligible for the S+C program, a person must be both homeless and disabled. In the case of a homeless household, at least one adult member must be considered disabled, as described below. Applications that propose serving other populations will not be considered for S+C funding.


The S+C program specifically targets homeless persons who:

  • are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, and abandoned or condemned buildings; or are sleeping in emergency shelters.
  • This may include persons who ordinarily sleep in one of the above places but are spending a short time (30 consecutive days or less) in a hospital or other institution.

Other Homeless Persons

Persons are also considered to be homeless if they:

  • are graduating from transitional housing specifically for homeless persons;
  • are being evicted within the week from private dwelling units and (1) no subsequent residences have been identified; and (2) they lack the resources and support networks needed to obtain access to housing;
  • or are persons being discharged within the week from institutions in which they have been residents for more than 30 consecutive days; and (1) no subsequent residences have been identified; and (2) they lack the resources and support networks needed to obtain access to housing.

Not all persons being evicted from private dwelling units or all persons being discharged from institutions are homeless. Applicants who propose to serve these populations must make clear in their applications that they (a) understand that persons are eligible only if they have no subsequent residence identified and lack the resources and support networks needed to access housing and (b) propose to serve only eligible persons. Applicants that are selected for funding will be required to have documentation of how it was determined that such persons did not have the resources or support network needed to obtain housing.

In summary, a person is homeless if, without the HUD assistance, they would have to spend the night in a shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation.

The intent of this policy is to help persons who lack shelter. The Department administers other programs to serve persons who are poorly housed or need supportive housing but are not homeless, such as Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments, public housing, HOME, Community Development Block Grants, and Supportive Housing for Persons With Disabilities. Contact your HUD field office for more information about those programs.


Persons with disabilities are those who have a disability that:

  • Is expected to be of long-continued and indefinite duration;
  • Substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently; and
  • Is of such a nature that the disability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions.

The disability may be a physical, mental, or emotional impairment, including an impairment due solely to alcohol or drug abuse.

There are several disabilities specifically targeted by the S+C program. These targeted disabilities are:

  • Serious mental illness,
  • Chronic alcohol and/or other drug abuse, and
  • AIDS or related diseases.

The disability may also be developmental. A severe, chronic developmental disability is characterized as:

  • Being caused by a mental or physical impairment;
  • Manifested before the person is age 22;
  • Likely to continue indefinitely;
  • Reflecting need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated; and
  • Resulting in substantial functional limitations in at least three of the following: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency.

In all components other than the SRO component, if it is determined that the presence of another person is important to the care or well-being of a disabled person, such a person may receive the benefits of the S+C program, even if the disabled person predeceases the care-giver. However, in such cases, the benefits will terminate at the end of the grant period or when the care-giver leaves the S+C-assisted housing unit.

Applicants may apply for assistance under any or all of the four components.