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Homeless Shelter

Programs that provide a temporary place to stay (usually three days to two weeks), generally in dormitory-style facilities with very little privacy, for people who have no permanent housing. Also included are programs that provide motel vouchers for people who are homeless.

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Supportive Housing for Homeless People

Programs that provide affordable, community-based housing for individuals and families who have experienced long-term or chronic homelessness and have been diagnosed as having a physical or developmental disability, a severe mental illness, substance abuse problems or HIV/AIDS; or are members of another designated group within the homeless population. Structures may include apartments, single-family houses, duplexes, group homes or single-room occupancy housing. Permanent supportive housing programs generally provide residents with the rights of tenancy under provincial or local landlord/tenant laws and are linked to services designed to meet residents' needs. Supportive services vary depending on the resident population. Most programs offer some type of case management and housing support, but may also offer more intensive mental health, substance abuse, vocational, employment or other services which help promote independent living. Supportive services may be offered on-site or off-site, or be provided by a mobile service team.

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Transitional Housing/Shelter

Programs that provide extended shelter and supportive services primarily for homeless individuals and/or families with the goal of helping them live independently and transition into permanent housing. Some programs require that the individual/family be transitioning from a short-term emergency shelter. The length of stay varies considerably by program. It is generally longer than two weeks but typically 60 days or more and, in many cases, up to two years or more. The supportive services may be provided directly by the organization managing the housing or may be coordinated by them and provided by other public or private agencies. Transitional housing/shelter is generally provided in apartment style facilities with a higher degree of privacy than short-term homeless shelters; may be provided at no cost to the resident; and may be configured for specialized groups within the homeless population such as people with substance abuse problems, homeless mentally ill, homeless domestic violence victims, veterans or homeless people with AIDS/HIV. Included are post-domestic violence shelter housing programs that make affordable rental housing (or other accommodations) available to women, generally those who are coming directly out of a domestic violence shelter or other crisis shelter, often in apartment complexes owned by the shelter; and programs that provide transitional housing and support services for other targeted groups such as military and veteran families and others who need a temporary supportive living environment to maintain stability and begin to thrive.

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Homeless Transportation Programs

Programs that provide transportation services for homeless people from the streets to a local shelter with available space, either from a established pick-up site or by appointment from the individual’s current location. Also included are programs that provide transportation between shelters or to and from medical clinics, detoxification facilities, public assistance offices and other local service providers.

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Outreach Programs

Organizations that make an effort to increase the availability and utilization of community services by specific target populations by providing direct services for targeted individuals in their homes or other convenient locations or by making special efforts to ensure that a particular group is aware of available services and encouraged to participate. Included are programs that do outreach regarding their own services as well as those which encourage a target population to use a wide variety of services.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.