Glossary of Terms: All

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  • Affordable Housing

    Housing, either ownership or rental, for which a household will pay no more than 30% percent of its gross annual income.

  • Case Manager

    A worker that assists the client’s medical, psychosocial and environmental needs. Coordinates resources and facilitated access to the appropriate sources of the health care system and other supportive services.

  • Chronically Homeless Person

    (HUD Definition): An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more OR has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years. Individuals who are in transitional housing or permanent supportive housing programs are not considered chronically homeless even if they have been in the program more than a year.

  • Continuum of Care

    (HUD Definition): A community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.

  • Dual Diagnosis

    Refers to a diagnosis of more than one of the following: emotional/behavioral disorder, substance abuse disorder or physical disability.

  • Eligibility Requirement

    The conditions a person must meet in order to become a participant in a program or service.

  • Emergency Housing

    Designed to assist homeless individuals with immediate temporary shelter/housing, with the goal of moving into transitional and/or permanent housing.

  • Emergency Shelter

    Any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations. The primary purpose, of which, is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations of homeless persons. The length of stay can range depending on the shelter’s guidelines.

  • Extremely Low Income

    At or below 30% of the area wide median income.

  • HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons Living With AIDS)

    A program administered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development which provides funding to support housing for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HOPWA has many programs funded in LA County to help provide housing and supportive services to this population.


  • Housing Case Manager

    A Housing Case Manager was the former name of what is now known as a Housing Specialist. A Housing Specialist can help you find and maintain appropriate housing, apply for housing benefits such as HOPWA to help pay for move-in expenses. They can refer you to supportive services to help you maintain stable housing.

  • Housing Specialist

    A Housing Specialist can help you find and maintain appropriate housing, apply for housing benefits such as HOPWA to help pay for move-in expenses. They can refer you to supportive services to help you maintain stable housing.

  • Housing First

    Housing First (from the National Alliance to End Homelessness): A “housing first” approach rests on two central premises: 1) Re-housing should be the central goal of our work with people experiencing homelessness; and 2) Providing housing assistance and follow-up case management services after a family or individual is housed can significantly reduce the time people spend in homelessness. Case management ensures individuals and families have a source of income through employment and/or public benefits, identifies service needs before the move into permanent housing, and works with families or adults after the move into permanent housing to help solve problems that may arise that threaten their tenancy including difficulties sustaining housing or interacting with the landlord and to connect families with community-based services to meet long term support/service needs.

  • Housing Plus

    Refers to housing where residents are encouraged to accept support services necessary to help them maintain their housing. The term is another way of referring to “permanent supportive housing,” but puts the emphasis on “housing plus intensive service” for people with serious disabilities.

  • HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development)

    A federal department active in a variety of national housing programs including urban renewal and public housing.

  • Low Income

    Income at or below 80% of the area wide median income.

  • Mental Illness

    A serious and persistent mental or emotional impairment that significantly limits a person’s ability to live independently.

  • Multiply Diagnosed

    This generally refers to people who have chronic alcohol and/or other drug use problems and/or a serious mental illness and/or are HIV-positive. The terms “dually diagnosed” and “triply diagnosed” are also used.

  • Permanent Housing

    Housing which is intended to be the tenant’s home for as long as they choose. In the supportive housing model, services are available to the tenant, but accepting services cannot be required of tenants or in any way impact their tenancy. Tenants of permanent housing sign legal lease documents.

  • Permanent Supportive Housing (HUD Definition)

    Long-term, community-based housing that has supportive services for homeless persons with disabilities. This type of supportive housing enables special needs populations to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting. The supportive services may be provided by the organization managing the housing or coordinated by the applicant and provided by other public or private service agencies. Permanent housing can be provided in one structure or several structures at one site or in multiple structures at scattered sites. There is no definite length of stay.

  • Person With A Disability

    HUD’s Section 8 program defines a “person with a disability” as: a person who is determined to: 1) have a physical, mental, or emotional impairment that is expected to be of continued and indefinite duration, substantially impedes his or her ability to live independently, and is of such a nature that the ability could be improved by more suitable housing conditions; or 2) have a developmental disability, as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

  • Referral

    The process of sending a patient/client from one social service agency to another health care or social service agency. Agencies may require written documentation for referral.

  • Section 8

    A long term subsidized housing program, which allows qualified individuals to pay 30% of their income towards rent.

  • Shelter Plus Care

    Is a program that provides rental assistance for homeless persons with disabilities. This program is designed to provide long-term housing for a homeless person with disabilities, (primarily those with serious mental illness, chronic problems with alcohol and or drugs, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or related diseases, and their families who are living in a place not intended for human habitation (e.g. street) or in emergency shelters.

  • SPA (Service Planning Area)

    Los Angeles County is divided into eight different Service Planning Areas (SPA). Each area is expected to have a balance of Continuum of Care services. Click for a list of the eight SPAs.

  • SRO (Single Room Occupancy) (HUD Definition)

    A residential property that includes multiple single room dwelling units. Each unit is for occupancy by a single eligible individual. The unit need not, but may, contain food preparation or sanitary facilities, or both.

  • Subsidized Housing

    Is a government supported accommodation for people with low to moderate incomes. To meet these goals many governments promote the construction of affordable housing. Forms of subsidies include direct housing subsidies, non-profit housing, public housing, rent supplements and some forms of co-operative and private sector housing.

  • Substance Use Issues

    The problems resulting from a pattern of using substances such as alcohol and drugs. Problems can include: a failure to fulfill major responsibilities and/or using substances in spite of physical, legal, social, and interpersonal problems and risks.

  • Supportive Services (HUD Definition)

    Services that assist a client in the transition from the streets or shelters into permanent or permanent supportive housing, and that assist persons with living successfully in housing.

  • Transitional Housing (HUD Definition)

    Transitional housing as a project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate support services to homeless persons to facilitate movement to independent living within 24 months. For purposes of the HOME program, there is not a HUD-approved time period for moving to independent living.

  • Very Low Income

    Income at or below 50% of the area wide median income.

  • Voucher

    A Voucher generally refers to a Section 8 Voucher provided by a local Housing Authority to a low or moderate income person but can also refer to an emergency voucher for short-term motel voucher for a homeless person. The Section 8 Voucher issued by Housing Authority makes up, in payment directly to the landlord, the difference between what a low or moderate income tenant can pay for rent (roughly 30% of their income) and the Fair Market Rent (more or less an average rent). Most Section 8 Vouchers are “tenant-based” meaning that the voucher holder can shop for an apartment or house rental on the private market, while others are “project based”, meaning that they are not portable, but can only be used in a specific building.

  • Unserved

    An individual in need who receives no services.

  • Sliding fee schedule

    The charge for services based upon the income and family size of the individual or family requesting services.

  • Share of Cost

    A monthly dollar amount some Medi-Cal recipients must pay, or agree to pay, toward their medical expenses before they qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. A Medi-Cal recipient’s SOC is similar to a private insurance plan’s out-of-pocket deductible.

  • Ryan White CARE Act

    The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act is federal legislation that addresses unmet health needs of people living with HIV/AIDS by funding primary health care and support services that enhance access to and retention in care. The CARE Act is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)