Who it serves.
At the federal level, homelessness is defined across four category types. However, Memphis will spend a significant amount of time confronting type 1, literal homelessness.
1) Literal Homelessness: an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and nighttime residence, meaning a place not meant for human habitation, including emergency shelter or hotel/motel paid for by local agencies.
2) Imminent Homelessness: an individual or family who will lose their primary nighttime residence within 21 days of applying for assistance.
3) Other Federal Statutes: unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age, or families with children and youth, who are defined as homeless under the statute of another federal partner, who have not had a lease/occupancy agreement in the 60 days prior to applying for assistance.
4) Fleeing Domestic Violence: an individual or family who is fleeing or attempting to flee an unsafe, domestic situation or intimate partner violence.
What about homeless students?
The Department of Education has a different set of standards for what constitutes homelessness, and schools are responsible for reporting their numbers to the state on a semi-annual basis. More often than not, students experiencing homelessness, or who are classified as itinerant (meaning they have multiple changes of address throughout the year), are significantly underreported. This is largely due to couch-surfing with friends and family, which has become normed for many as well as underresourced districts or school management organizations that may receive as little as $100 per homeless student a year to confront this issue.
What about Veterans?
The VA works alongside the CoC to address Veteran homelessness and additional federal funding streams are in place to more actively serve this population. With these resources, many cities have reached a functional zero level of homelessness, meaning any Veteran presenting as homeless can be served on the day they touch the response system --- in other words, homelessness is a solvable problem.