The United States Code contains the official federal definition of homelessness, which is commonly used because it controls federal funding streams. In Title 42, Chapter 119, Subchapter 1, "homeless" is defined as:
§11302. General definition of homeless individual
(a) In general
For purposes of this chapter, the term "homeless" or "homeless individual or homeless person" includes––
1. an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
2. an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is––
A. a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide
temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and
transitional housing for the mentally ill);
B. an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be
C. a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping
accommodation for human beings."
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