On January 10, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) released guidance regarding people living at “Occupy” campsites. The guidance provides clarification on when Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP) funds can be used for people who are living at Occupy campsite. The guidance also clarifies circumstances in which a person living at an Occupy site should be counted in the upcoming Point-in-Time (PIT) enumerations of people experiencing homelessness.
“Residing in an ‘Occupy’ encampment does not entitle someone to receive special treatment or different eligibility criteria compared to other homeless persons, and does not give them any priority,” HUD says in the guidance. HUD notes, however, that many of those living at Occupy encampments may meet HPRP eligibility criteria. HUD says that eligibility determinations must be made on an individual basis.
HUD also clarifies that communities should exclude people from their unsheltered PIT count “who are choosing to stay in an unsheltered location as a form of public protest and who do not lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (e.g., persons participating in an ‘Occupy’ movement protest who are not otherwise homeless).”
HUD mandates that in odd calendar years, local Continuums of Care (CoCs) conduct PIT counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a specific night during the last week of January. Although not mandated to do so, the majority of CoCs conduct PIT counts every year.
The guidance is available at: http://nlihc.org/doc/HUD_Occupy_Guidance.pdf