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Different Types of Homelessness

Updated: Feb 11



Homelessness refers to a family or individual that does not have access to a secure permanent residence or is at risk of losing an adequate residence in the coming future. When referring to a homeless person, the vast majority will think of those sleeping on the streets; however, this is not always accurate. Here are the four main types of homelessness.



Chronic homelessness is the most encountered and widely recognized form of homelessness however it is less common than others. Someone who is chronically homeless has been homeless for more than one year or numerous times across multiple years. Typically those who are chronically homeless are older, struggling with long-term health issues such as mental illness or physical disabilities, struggling with addiction or poverty – for these reasons and many others they are unable to secure adequate employment to sustain the cost of living in a safe and comfortable environment.



Episodic homelessness refers to those who have been homeless on and off throughout their life, have been homeless for less than one year or have had three episodes of homelessness within a year. Episodic homelessness can eventually lead to becoming chronically homeless if the individual experiences four or more episodes of homelessness within a year or is continuously homeless for longer than one year.



Hidden homelessness is an extremely common type of homelessness; however, these situations very often go unreported and undocumented as those experiencing hidden homelessness rarely access any resources or governmental support to assist them in finding permanent secure housing. Instead, they often find shelter through sofa surfing in the homes of friends/family, hostels or squatting in other insecure accommodations. Due to lack of documentation, there is no way that we can estimate how many are affected by hidden homelessness and therefore are not included in any statistics regarding homelessness.



Transitional Homelessness refers to those who have been homeless for less than one year; this often comes as a result of a significant life event such as domestic violence, divorce, death of a loved one, medical conditions or loss of employment. Those who are transitionally homeless often find refuge in a shelter or another form of temporary housing as opposed to sleeping on the streets. Some individuals facing these circumstances are still in employment yet are not earning a sustainable enough income to afford rent or other expenses.


As you can see there are varying ways in which someone can be deemed homeless, its not always the stereotypical kind you see on the streets. Here at Yes It's Possible we do all be can to help people in all 4 of the above situations. Our aim is to get people onto their feet so they don't have to experience any of the above and tailor our care to whichever form of homelessness may threaten them.

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