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Transitional Homelessness

What is Transitional Homelessness?

Transitional homelessness is a state of homelessness that is a result of a major life change or catastrophic event.


There are many reasons a person may become transitionally homeless, including job loss, a medical condition/disability, divorce, domestic abuse, natural disaster, and more.


Those who are experiencing transitionally homeless have been homeless for less than a year.


Key Takeaways

  • Transitional homelessness is the most common form of homelessness.

  • Transitional homelessness lasts one year or less.

  • Young people are most likely to experience transitional homelessness.

Understanding Transitional Homelessness

There are four types of homelessness: hidden homelessness, chronic homelessness, episodic homelessness, and transitional homelessness. It is a common misconception that most people experiencing homelessness have been homeless for an extended period of time, but statistically, only 20% of those experiencing homelessness are chronically homeless.


Transitional homelessness is the most common form of homelessness. There are many factors that may cause a person to become transitionally homeless. The most common is economic issues, such as lack of affordable housing, lack of employment opportunities, lack of transportation, lack of resources, and low wages. For many people living in poverty, a single economic setback could result in losing their home.


Many of those who become transitionally homeless, for reasons other than job loss, are employed. This may be a contributing factor for their transition back into stable housing. They’re also likely to be young and usually enter a shelter or temporary housing system for only a single brief stay while getting back on their feet. A person is considered transitionally homeless if they are able to return to stable housing within a year.



Related Terms

  • Hidden Homelessness-Individuals who live with others temporarily without a permanent home, immediate prospects for accessing permanent housing, or guarantee of continued residency.

  • Unsheltered-An unsheltered homeless person resides in a place not meant for human habitation.

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