About a dozen years ago HUD made the bold move of defining a particular type of homelessness. Prior to this new definition, the government made no distinction between types of homeless people. Still HUD has only been dealing with homelessness since 1987 through the Stewart B McKinney Act.
HUD created the governments first responses to Chronic Homelessness in 2003. From the HUD website
HUD adopted the Federal definition which defines a chronically homeless person as “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, OR (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.” This definition is adopted by HUD from a federal standard that was arrived upon through collective decision making by a team of federal agencies including HUD, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
With that came the governments first definition of Chronically Homeless people. After considerable input from the homelessness industry, HUD redefined the term so to make it more accurate. The following was added to the definition
A family with an adult member who meets this description would also be considered chronically homeless.
I am sure that the government will continue to revise it’s definition as it gains knowledge of the subject.