Education

We're so glad you want to learn more about homelessness! Education leads to understanding, and understanding leads to compassion.

Homelessness is a condition that can happen to anyone...any age, gender, race, religion, or background.

The United States Code contains the official federal definition of homeless. In Title 42, Chapter 119, Subchapter I, homeless is defined as:

  1. an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  2. an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is —

    1. 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);
    2. an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
    3. a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

So a person doesn't have to be living outside to be considered homeless.  A mother and children who have lost their home, and are temporarily doubled up with family, sleeping on the couch, are homeless (they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence).  A guest at the Mission is homeless (an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised privately operated shelter). Someone living in a cave carved out under the boardwalk, with cardboard floor, sand walls, and boardwalk roof is homeless (an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings).

Copyright 2009 Atlantic City Rescue Mission