'Interim housing' - a new definition and policy direction for the US

We quote in full here (below) the definition and commentary on 'interim housing' used by the US HUD in recent guidance, issued in December 2022. This guidance represents a significant shift in US policy.

We now see policy and funding rolling back from an era when all services had to be seen as compatible with the principles of Housing First, Here, HF is still seen as an overall policy direction; but we see the US recognising the potential value of other forms of accommodation and support. This shift comes about, we are told, through a programme of listening to service users - dialogue rather than data.

With this introduction, US policy begins to accept the breadth of constructive service offers that we in the UK had identified by the term PIE.


Use of the Term “Interim Housing”

We have purposefully chosen to entitle this project and this document “Reimagining Interim Housing” but want to make the meaning and intentions behind the term “interim housing” clear. We have received considerable guidance from people with lived expertise and experiences of homelessness about the stigmatizing and traumatizing impacts of language in current usage within homelessness response systems, including the term “emergency shelter.”

Based upon that guidance, we have chosen to largely avoid the term “emergency shelter” within this document. Instead, we have chosen to refer to “interim housing” or, less frequently, to “sheltering people.” The term “interim housing” is not meant to refer to one specific program model. Rather, the term is meant to refer to a full range of shorter-term, crisis options for temporary accommodations which may currently be referred to by a variety of terms: congregate or non-congregate emergency shelter; navigation centers; bridge housing; transitional housing; or other models or terms.

The term “interim housing” is also not meant to imply that people who are staying in such programs have ended their experiences of homelessness. People in interim housing programs of any type are still experiencing homelessness, and interim housing programs alone cannot end homelessness within our communities. We recognize that it will take time to shift language usage consistently and that language will likely continue to evolve as we strive to reimagine and transform our approaches.

We also know that some programs may have to use specific terms for their programs or models based upon funding sources’ eligibility requirements, regulations, or for other reasons. In implementing transformation efforts, we encourage people to use the terms that makes the most sense locally, while also listening to and following the guidance and preferences of people with lived expertise within your community.

Interim Housing Policy documents


Re-imagining Interim Housing : Transforming our Approaches to Sheltering People : HERE

Stages and Action Areas for Transforming Approaches to Sheltering People Experiencing Homelessness : HERE

Tools for Strengthening Current Interim Housing Programs and Services : HERE


A US/UK vocabulary of homelessness terminology : HERE

US glossary of terms : HERE

UK housing and mental health intersections : HERE


PIElink pages on Housing First and PIEs

American PIE : HERE

Housing First and PIEs - how do they work together? : HERE

Is Housing First itself a PIE approach? : HERE

(Balancing) principles and pragmatism in PIEs and HF : HERE

Housing First and PIEs - where parallel lines meet? : HERE

Housing First, PIEs and the Pizazz (Special Interest Group) : HERE

Housing models, Housing First and PIEs in the US and the UK : HERE

Housing First and PIEs in Europe : HERE

Housing First in the 'new world' : HERE