Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act
On May 20, 2009, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was signed into law. The HEARTH Act consolidates three of the separate homeless assistance programs administered by HUD under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act into a single grant program. The HEARTH Act also codifies into law the Continuum of Care planning process, a longstanding part of HUD’s application process to assist homeless persons by providing greater coordination in responding to their needs.
The HEARTH Act made numerous changes to HUD's homeless assistance programs:
- Homelessness prevention was significantly expanded.
- New incentives were put in place to emphasize rapid re-housing, especially for homeless families.
- The existing emphasis on creating permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness was continued, although families could also be considered chronically homeless.
- Rural communities gained the option of applying under a different set of guidelines that offer more flexibility and more assistance with capacity building.
Read the general definition of “homeless individual” under the McKinney-Vento HEARTH Act here.