Code of the District of Columbia

§ 4–751.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Administrative Procedure Act” or “APA” means Chapter 5 of Title 2.

(2) “Adult” means any individual who:

(A) Has reached the age of majority under District law as defined in § 46-101; or

(B) Qualifies as an emancipated minor under District law.

(3) “Apartment style” means a housing unit with:

(A) Separate cooking facilities and other basic necessities to enable families to prepare and consume meals;

(B) Separate bathroom facilities for the use of the family; and

(C) Separate sleeping quarters for adults and minor children in accordance with the occupancy standards of Title 14 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (Housing).

(4) “Appropriate permanent housing” means permanent housing that does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of its occupants, meets the District’s building code requirements, and is affordable for the client.

(5) “Appropriately trained and qualified” means having received specialized training designed to teach the skills necessary to successfully perform one’s job and to work compassionately with individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

(5A) "At risk of chronic homelessness" means an individual or a family with a head of household who:

(A) Is homeless and lives in a place not meant for human habitation or in a shelter;

(B) Can be diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (as defined in § 21-1201(3), post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability; and

(C) Does not have sufficient resources or support networks, such as family, friends, and faith-based or other social networks, immediately available to assist them in obtaining permanent housing.

(5B) "At risk of homelessness" means that an individual or family:

(A)(i) Has an annual income below 40% of the median family income for the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; or

(ii) Has an annual income below 30% of the median family income for the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, if providing a program or service to the individual or family would require the District or a provider to expend funds that are restricted by federal law or policy on the individual or family;

(B) Does not have sufficient resources or support networks, such as family, friends, and faith-based or other social networks, immediately available to prevent them from moving to a shelter or another place described in paragraph (18)(A) of this section; and

(C) Meets one of the following conditions:

(i) Has moved housing accommodations because of economic reasons 2 or more times during the 60 days immediately preceding the application for crisis intervention assistance;

(ii) Is living in the home of another individual or family because of economic hardship;

(iii) Has been notified or can document that their right to occupy their current housing or living situation will be terminated, including notification or documentation of past-due rent;

(iv) Lives in a hotel or motel and the cost of the hotel or motel stay is not paid by charitable organizations or by federal, state, or local government programs for low-income individuals;

(v) Lives in:

(I) A single-room occupancy or efficiency apartment unit in which there reside more than 2 persons; or

(II) A housing unit, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, in which there reside more than 1.5 people per room;

(vi) Is exiting a publicly funded institution or a publicly funded system of care; or

(vii) Otherwise lives in housing that has characteristics associated with instability and an increased risk of homelessness, as identified in the District's approved consolidated plan.

(6) “Basic necessities” means a dinette set, refrigerator, stove, exhaust fan or window, storage cabinets, cookware, flatware, and tableware.

(6A) "Centralized or coordinated assessment system" means a centralized or coordinated process, which is designed to coordinate client intake, assessment, and the provision of referrals, and includes a standardized assessment tool that can be used to provide an initial assessment of the needs of individuals and families for housing and services within the Continuum of Care.

(6B) "Centralized or coordinated assessment system protocol" means the policies and operational procedures that govern how the centralized or coordinated assessment system is administered in the District, including policies regarding client prioritization and procedures for making referrals within the Continuum of Care.

(6C) "Chronically homeless" means:

(A) An individual who:

(i) Is homeless and lives in a place not meant for human habitation or in a shelter;

(ii) Has been homeless continuously for at least one year or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last 3 years; and

(iii) Can be diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions: substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability (as defined in § 21-1201(3), post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability;

(B) An individual who:

(i) Has been residing in an institution; and

(ii) Met all of the criteria in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph before entering that facility; or

(C) A family with a head of household who meets all of the criteria in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, including a family whose composition has fluctuated while the head of household has been homeless.

(7) “Client” means an individual or family seeking, receiving, or eligible for services from a program covered by § 4-754.01.

(7A) "Collaborative applicant" means the entity designated to apply for federal Continuum of Care planning funds.

(8) “Continuum of Care” means the comprehensive system of services for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and designed to serve clients based on their individual level of need. The Continuum of Care may include crisis intervention, outreach and assessment services, shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing programs, and supportive services.

(8A) "Continuum of Care Governance Board" means the board established to act on behalf of organizations and agencies in the District that provide services within the Continuum of Care, including nonprofit homeless providers, victim service providers, faith-based organizations, government agencies, businesses, advocates, public housing agencies, school districts, social service providers, mental health agencies, hospitals, universities, affordable housing developers, law enforcement, and organizations that serve homeless and formerly homeless veterans and homeless and formerly homeless people, for the purposes of operating the Continuum of Care Program pursuant to 24 C.F.R. Part 578.

(9) “Crisis intervention” means assistance to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless, which may include, but need not be limited to, cash assistance for security deposits, rent or mortgage payments, utility assistance, credit counseling, mediation with landlords, and supportive services.

(10) “Culturally competent” means the ability of a provider to deliver or ensure access to services in a manner that effectively responds to the languages, values, and practices present in the various cultures of its clients so the provider can respond to the individual needs of each client.

(11) “Day program” means a facility that provides open access to structured activities during set hours of the day to meet the supportive services needs of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

(11A) “DC General Family Shelter replacement unit” means a private room that includes space to store and refrigerate food and is constructed by or at the request of the District for the purpose of sheltering a homeless family.

(12) “Department” means the Department of Human Services.

(13) “District” means the District of Columbia government, its agents, or its designees.

(13A) "Domestic violence" shall have the same meaning as "intrafamily offense", as defined in§ 16-1001(8).

(14) “Drop-in center” means a facility that delivers supportive services that may include food, clothing, showers, medical services, and employment services.

(15) “Drug” means a controlled substance as defined in § 48-901.02(4), or the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, approved October 27, 1970 (84 Stat. 1242; 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.).

(16) “Family” means:

(A) A group of individuals with at least one minor or dependent child, regardless of blood relationship, age, or marriage, whose history and statements reasonably tend to demonstrate that they intend to remain together as a family unit; or

(B) A pregnant woman in her third trimester.

(17) “Group home” means a housing unit with:

(A) Sleeping quarters that may be shared;

(B) Shared cooking and bathroom facilities; and

(C) Other basic necessities to enable individuals or families to prepare and consume meals.

(17A) “Gender identity or expression” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 2-1401.02(12A).

(18) "Homeless" means:

(A) An individual or family that lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:

(i) An individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground;

(ii) An individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated housing facility designated to provide temporary living arrangements, including shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state, or local government programs for low-income individuals; or

(iii) An individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 180 days or less and who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution;

(B) An individual or family who has lost or will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence, if:

(i) The primary nighttime residence will be lost within 14 days of the date of application for homeless assistance or has already been lost;

(ii) No subsequent residence has been identified; and

(iii) The individual or family lacks the resources or support networks, such as family, friends, and faith-based or other social networks, needed to obtain other permanent housing;

(C) An unaccompanied youth, who:

(i) Has not had a lease, ownership interest, or occupancy agreement in permanent housing at any time during the 60 days immediately preceding the date of application for homeless assistance;

(ii) Has experienced persistent instability as measured by 2 moves of housing accommodations or more during the 60-day period immediately preceding the date of applying for homeless assistance; and

(iii) Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because of:

(I) Chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, or a history of domestic violence or childhood abuse (including neglect);

(II) The presence, in the household, of a child or youth with a disability; or

(III) Two or more barriers to employment, which include the lack of a high school degree or General Education Development, illiteracy, low English proficiency, a history of incarceration or detention for criminal activity, and a history of unstable employment; or

(D) Any individual or family who:

(i) Is fleeing, or is attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member, including a child, that has either taken place within the individual's or family's primary nighttime residence or has made the individual or family afraid to return to their primary nighttime residence;

(ii) Has no other residence; and

(iii) Lacks the resources or support networks, such as family, friends, and faith-based or other social networks, needed to obtain other permanent housing.

(18A) "HMIS" means the Homeless Management Information System designated by the Continuum of Care Governance Board to comply with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's data collection, management, and reporting standards and used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and people at risk of homelessness.

(19) Repealed.

(20) “Hyperthermia shelter” means a public or private building that the District shall make available, for the purpose of providing shelter to individuals or families who are homeless and cannot access other shelter, whenever the actual or forecasted temperature or heat index rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The term “hyperthermia shelter” does not include overnight shelter.

(21) “Hypothermia shelter” means a public or private building that the District shall make available, for the purpose of providing shelter to individuals or families who are homeless and cannot access other shelter, whenever the actual or forecasted temperature, including the wind chill factor, falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

(21A) "Individual" means an unaccompanied adult or unaccompanied youth.

(22) “Individual with a disability” means a person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the major life activities of the person.

(23) Repealed.

(24) “Imminent threat to the health or safety” means an act or credible threat of violence in a program covered by this chapter.

(24A) "Institution" means a healthcare facility, nursing home, mental health facility, foster care or other residential youth facility, substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation facility, or criminal correctional program or facility.

(25) “Interagency Council” means the Interagency Council on Homelessness established pursuant to § 4-752.01.

(25A) “Interim eligibility placement” means a short-term shelter placement for a family, for the purpose of conducting an in-depth assessment to facilitate an eligibility determination for shelter and appropriate supportive services pursuant to § 4-753.02(a).

(25B) “LGBTQ” means a person who self-identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, queer, or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

(26) “Low barrier shelter” means an overnight housing accommodation for individuals who are homeless, provided directly by, or through contract with or grant from, the District, for the purpose of providing shelter to individuals without imposition of identification, time limits, or other program requirements;

(26A) "Medical respite services" means time-limited acute and post-acute medical care that is provided in a residential medical facility or shelter to individuals who are:

(A) Homeless; and

(B) Determined by a qualified medical professional licensed in the District to require medical assistance.

(27) “Member agency” or “member agencies” means the District agencies or divisions thereof represented on the Interagency Council pursuant to § 4-752.01(b).

(27A) Repealed.

(27B) "Permanent housing" means housing without a designated length of stay, characterized by a lease or other occupancy agreement that is for a term of at least one year and renewable by the tenant named on the lease for terms that are a minimum of one month.

(27C) "Permanent housing program" means a federally or locally funded program within the Continuum of Care through which individuals or families obtain permanent housing. The term "permanent housing program" includes Rapid Re-Housing and permanent supportive housing.

(28) "Permanent supportive housing" means a program that provides rental assistance and supportive services for an unrestricted period of time to assist individuals and families experiencing chronic homelessness, or at risk of experiencing chronic homelessness, to obtain and maintain permanent housing and to live as independently as possible.

(28A) “Private room” means a part or division of a building that has:

(A) Four non-portable walls that meet the ceiling and floor at the edges so as to be continuous and uninterrupted; provided, that the room may contain a window if the window comes with an opaque covering, such as blinds or shades;

(B) A door that locks from both the inside and outside as its main point of access;

(C) Sufficient insulation from sound so that family members sheltered in the room may have a conversation at a normal volume and not be heard from the exterior;

(D) Lighting within the room that the occupants can turn on or off as desired; and

(E) Access to on-site bathroom facilities, including a toilet, sink, and shower.

(29) “Program Rules” means the set of provider rules, client rights, and complaint and appeal procedures, including those enumerated in this chapter, proposed by a particular provider for the purpose of governing the behavior and treatment of its clients and approved by the Mayor subject to § 4-754.32.

(30) “Provider” means an individual or entity within the Continuum of Care that operates a program covered by § 4-754.01.

(31) “Public assistance” means government-funded payments in or by money, medical care, remedial care, shelter, goods or services to, or for the benefit of, needy persons.

(31A) "Rapid Re-Housing" means a program that provides housing relocation and stabilization services and time-limited rental assistance, as necessary, to help a homeless individual or family move as quickly as possible into permanent housing and achieve stability in permanent housing such that recipients may remain in the housing when assistance ends.

(32) "Resident of the District" means an individual or family who:

(A)(i) Is not receiving locally administered public assistance from a jurisdiction other than the District;

(ii) Is living in the District voluntarily and not for a temporary purpose and who has no intention of presently moving from the District, which shall be determined and applied in accordance with § 4-205.03); and

(iii) Demonstrates residency by providing evidence that the individual or family is receiving public assistance from the District as administered by the Department or by providing one of the following:

(I) Documents from the U.S. Social Security Administration addressed to the individual or a member of the family at a residential address in the District;

(II) Evidence that the individual or a member of the family is attending school in the District;

(III) A valid, unexpired District motor vehicle operator's permit or other official non-driver identification in the name of the individual or a member of the family;

(IV) A utility bill for water, gas, electric, oil, cable, or a land-line telephone issued within the last 60 days that contains the name and a residential District address of the individual or a member of the family;

(V) A personal income tax document issued within the last year by the District or federal government that contains the name of the individual or a member of the family and indicates a residential address in the District;

(VI) A pay stub issued within the last 60 days to the individual or a member of the family that indicates a residential address in the District;

(VII) A valid voter registration card, military identification, or veteran's identification issued by the District or federal government that contains the name of the individual or a member of the family and indicates a residential address in the District;

(VIII) An unemployment document or stub issued to the individual or a member of the family that indicates a residential address in the District;

(IX) A current motor vehicle registration in the name of the individual or a member of the family that indicates a residential address in the District;

(X) An eviction notice from a residential property in the District issued to the individual or a member of the family within the last 60 days;

(XI) A valid unexpired District lease or rental agreement with the name of the individual or a member of the family listed as the lessee or as a permitted resident or renter; or

(XII) Any other document the Department identifies as acceptable proof of residency; or

(B) Produces one of the documents required pursuant to subparagraph (A)(iii), issued or otherwise valid within the last 2 years, and a written verification by a verifier who attests, to the best of the verifier's knowledge, that the individual or family became homeless in the District and has not established a permanent residence outside of the District in the previous 2 years.

(32A) "Retaliation" means any adverse action taken by a provider against a client in response to the client exercising any of the rights protected in this chapter. Adverse actions include sanctions, loss of privileges, disparate treatment, transfers, suspensions, and terminations.

(32B) “Safe housing” means housing that does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of its occupants and that permits access to electricity, heat, and running water for the benefit of occupants.

(33) “Sanction” means an adverse action taken by a provider affecting the delivery of services to a client, and may include loss of privileges or denial, reduction, delay, transfer for inappropriate or punitive reasons, suspension, or termination of services.

(34) “Service plan” means a written plan collaboratively developed and agreed upon by both the provider and the client, consisting of time-specific goals and objectives designed to promote self-sufficiency and attainment of permanent housing and based on the client’s individually assessed needs, desires, strengths, resources, and limitations.

(35) “Severe weather conditions” means the outdoor conditions whenever the actual or forecasted temperature, including the wind chill factor or heat index, falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or rises above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

(36) “Severe weather shelter” means hyperthermia shelter or hypothermia shelter.

(37) “Shelter” means severe weather shelter, low barrier shelter, and temporary shelter.

(38) Repealed.

(39) “Supportive services” means services addressing employment, physical health, mental health, alcohol and other substance abuse recovery, child care, transportation, case management, and other health and social service needs which, if unmet, may be barriers to obtaining or maintaining permanent housing.

(40) “Temporary shelter” means:

(A) A housing accommodation for individuals who are homeless that is open either 24 hours or at least 12 hours each day, other than a severe weather shelter or low barrier shelter, provided directly by, or through contract with or grant from, the District, for the purpose of providing shelter and supportive services; or

(B) A 24-hour apartment-style housing accommodation for individuals or families who are homeless, other than a severe weather shelter, provided directly by, or through contract with or grant from, the District, for the purpose of providing shelter and supportive services.

(41) “Transitional housing” means a 24-hour housing accommodation, the purpose of which is to facilitate the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within 2 years or a longer period approved by the provider, provided directly by, or through contract with or grant from, the District, for individuals and families who:

(A) Are homeless;

(B) Require a structured program of supportive services for less than or equal to 2 years or a longer period approved by the provider in order to prepare for self-sufficient living in permanent housing; and

(C) Consent to a case management plan developed collaboratively with the provider.

(41A) “Verifier” means a District resident or a provider who knows where an individual or family seeking shelter lives and who produces evidence of his or her employment as a provider in the case of a provider, or own District residency in the case of a District resident by providing a:

(A) Valid District driver’s license or nondriver’s identification;

(B) District voter registration card;

(C) Valid lease, rental agreement, rent receipt, deed, settlement papers, or mortgage statement for a residence in the District;

(D) Valid homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy for a residence in the District;

(E) District property tax bill issued within the last 60 days;

(F) Utility bill for water, gas, electric, oil, cable, or a land-line telephone issued within the last 60 days; or

(G) Pay stub issued within the last 30 days showing a District address and District withholding taxes.

(42) “Weapon” means any pistol or other firearm (or imitation thereof), or other dangerous or deadly weapon, including a sawed-off shot gun, shot gun, machine gun, rifle, dirk, bowie knife, butcher knife, switch blade knife, razor, black jack, billy club or metallic or other false knuckles, as referenced in § 22-4502, and any air gun, air rifle, canon, torpedo, bean shooter, sling, projectile, dart, BB gun, spring gun, blow gun, other dangerous missile or explosive, or other dangerous weapon or ammunition of any character, as referenced in Chapter 23 of Title 24 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.

(43) “Youth” means a person who is under 25 years of age.


(Oct. 22, 2005, D.C. Law 16-35, § 2, 52 DCR 8113; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-296, § 2(b), 54 DCR 1097; June 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-177, § 7(a), 55 DCR 3696; Apr. 8, 2011, D.C. Law 18-367, § 2(a), 58 DCR 987; Dec. 24, 2013, D.C. Law 20-61, § 5182(a), 60 DCR 12472; May 3, 2014, D.C. Law 20-100, § 2(a), 61 DCR 1873; Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-212, § 2(a), 61 DCR 13077; Feb. 27, 2016, D.C. Law 21-75, §§ 2(a), 3, 63 DCR 257; Feb. 28, 2018, D.C. Law 22-65, § 2(b), (c), 65 DCR 331.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 4-753.01, § 4-753.02, § 4-1345.01, and § 7-761.05.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-296, in par. (9), added utility payments to the scope of the paragraph; rewrote par. (18)(A); and added pars. (27A) and (32A). Prior to amendment, par. (18)(A) read:

“(A) Lacking a fixed, regular residence that does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of its occupants, and lacking the financial ability to immediately acquire one; or”

D.C. Law 17-177 added par. (17A).

D.C. Law 18-367 rewrote par. (32); and added par. (41). Prior to amendment, par. (32) read as follows: “(32) ‘Resident of the District’ means an individual or family who is living in the District voluntarily and not for a temporary purpose and who has no intention of presently moving from the District. The term ‘resident of the District’ shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with § 4-205.03.”

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 20-61 added “including any individual or family who is fleeing, or is attempting to flee, domestic violence and who has no other residence and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain safe housing” in (18)(A); added (31A); added “the purpose of which is to facilitate the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within 2 years or a longer period approved by the provider” in the introductory language of (41); and substituted “less than or equal to 2 years or a longer period approved by the provider” for “up to 2 years or as long as necessary” in (41)(B).

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-100 added (25A) and (43).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-212 would have added (28A), defining “private room.”

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-75 repealed the amendment by D.C. Law 20-212; added (11A); redesignated former (25A) as (25B); and added (25A) and (28A).

Emergency Legislation

For repeal of emergency Act 22-195, see section 4 of D.C. Act 22-229.

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Respite Services Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-195, Nov. 29, 2017, 64 DCR 12407).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Respite Services Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-629, Jan. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 905).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 5182(a) of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-130, July 30, 2013, 60 DCR 11384, 20 DCSTAT 1827).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 5182(a) of the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-204, October 17, 2013, 60 DCR 15341, 20 DCSTAT 2311).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Interim Eligibility and Minimum Shelter Standards Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-217, Nov. 30, 2015, 62 DCR 15648).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 2(a) and 3 of the Interim Eligibility and Minimum Shelter Standards Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-326, Mar. 3, 2016, 63 DCR 3658).

Temporary Legislation

For repeal of temporary Act 22-199, see section 4 of D.C. Act 22-229.

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Respite Services Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 22-51, Jan. 27, 2018, 64 DCR 12549).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Medical Respite Services Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Law 21-245, Apr. 7, 2017, 64 DCR 1618).

Short Title

Section 5181 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that Subtitle Q of Title V of the act may be cited as the “Homeless Services Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2013”.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-61: Section 11001 of D.C. Law 20-61 provided that, except as otherwise provided, the act shall apply as of October 1, 2013.

Applicability of D.C. Law 20-212: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-212 provided that the act shall apply upon the inclusion of its fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority pursuant to D.C. Law 16-35, the Homeless Services Reform Act of 2005, see Mayor’s Order 2007-80, April 2, 2007 ( 54 DCR 7809).