The WTHN Homelessness Glossary
2616 South Clack
Abilene, TX 79606
Phone: (325) 690-5100
24-Hour Crisis Hot Line: (800)758-3344
Did you know Courtney Horton, our Supported Housing Specialist, is also Coalition Coordinator for West Texas Homeless Network? She is a subject expert on homelessness and works with many partner organizations in our community to assist those facing homelessness.
WTHN has made noteworthy progress in improving services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, but the issue still has many myths and misunderstood facets. We wanted to highlight some of the key terms and concepts that are essential in understanding conversations about homelessness in our area.
This glossary will be an ongoing project that will also live and be updated periodically here, on WTHNetwork.org.
Homelessness: the state of being without adequate nighttime residence. This includes living in a shelter, outside, or a place not intended for habitation.
Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness: we use this (or just “neighbors”), instead of “homeless people,” because these are people living in our community — first and foremost — no matter their living arrangements.
Crisis: an overwhelming situation that increases a person’s risk of homelessness. Job loss and eviction are two common examples of crises that can lead to risk of homelessness. When a person is in crisis, they may lose the ability to meet their own needs without assistance.
Diversion From Homelessness: an intervention designed to immediately address the needs of someone who has just lost their housing and become homeless or is at risk of being homeless (also see “Person-Centered Approach” below). Read more about diversion here: https://endhomelessness.org/resource/diversionexplainer/.
Person-Centered Approach: tailoring services and other assistance to the specific needs of an individual rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Often, assistance in solving one specific problem (first month’s rent, application and deposit fees, landlord mediation, etc.) can help with Diversion from Homelessness.
Functional Zero: this is a milestone indicating homelessness has been effectively ended for a population. Functional Zero is not permanent — it must be sustained. While sustaining Functional Zero, individuals may still experience homelessness, but those experiences are rare and brief. In Abilene, we have achieved and sustained Functional Zero for our Military Veteran population and are working toward the milestone for Children and Families. Read more about
Functional Zero here: https://community.solutions/built-for-zero/functional-zero/.
Coordinated Entry (CE): this is an official process recognized by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and used by WTHN to serve those experiencing homelessness. It creates a housing priority list based on an individual’s vulnerability, so those with the highest need can be served first. Entities in our community that perform CE Assessments are referred to as Coordinated Entry Points (CEPs). For more information about this process, WTHN’s Coordinated Entry Line is 325-260-1417.
By-Names List: the housing priority list which identifies neighbor “by name” that serves and houses the most vulnerable first. The “By-Names List” (or BNL) is divided into Sub-Populations (see below) to assist with achieving Functional Zero for each population.
Sub-Populations: Functional Zero progress is tracked for the following populations; Chronic, Veteran, Families, Youth, and Singles.
HMIS: Housing Management Information System. The information system that is required of all HUD-funded housing programs and Coordinated Entry Points and users.
VI-SPDAT (Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool): an assessment administered both to individuals and families to determine risk and prioritization when providing assistance to homeless and at-risk-of-homelessness persons.
Resiliency: the ability to bounce back. People tend to be resilient! Even when a person has experienced chronic homelessness, they can still bounce back to a state of maintaining their own living situation, given assistance.
Stability vs. Instability (of Housing): having reliable access to safe and stable housing. Without this access, a person is considered to have Housing Instability. Stability is indicated by having safe and stable housing with little or no vulnerability to homelessness.
— Anthony Burke
Categories: West Texas Homeless Network
Tags: by-names list, definitions, functional zero, homelessness, West Texas Homeless Network, WTHN