There are many conceptions and misconceptions about homelessness. For our understanding we use the following definitions in fulfilling our vision and mission:
1) Situational or transitional: This is when someone is forced into homelessness because of uncontrollable circumstances such as loosing a job, important material loss, loss of main breadwinner(father, husband, wife) etc.
2) Episodic or cyclical: This is when a person repeatedly falls in and out of homelessness. This often happens with drug addicts and with people experiencing mental health issues. The person might live episodes of severe depression cyclical way and fall back in homelessness when these occur. Same for someone with drug abuse issues. The person may be able to stop consuming for certain periods of time and get off the street, while remaining a high risk of homelessness.
3) Chronic: This is when an individual is in the street for a long period of time and very few or no resources are at their disposal to modify their situation. Often, these people will suffer from mental health issues. They won’t have the ability to modify their situation without the support of others. It is very rare that someone will be homeless all of his or her life on a voluntary basis.
With these thoughts in mind, we are able to address the situations and needs of every individual who is experiencing one form or another of homelessness. Maybe these will help you understand as well.