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What does that mean? The words and acronyms we use matter. For more information on terms we use, please check out the list below.

By-Names List: the housing priority list which identifies neighbor “by name” that serves and houses the most vulnerable first. The “By-Names List” (or BNL) is divided into Sub-Populations to assist with achieving Functional Zero for each population. The sub-populations are: Chronic, Veteran, Families, Youth, Singles 

Coordinated Entry (CE): this is an official process recognized by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and used by WTHN to serve those experiencing homelessness. It creates a housing priority list based on an individual’s vulnerability, so those with the highest need can be served first. Entities in our community that perform CE Assessments are referred to as Coordinated Entry Points (CEPs). For more information about this process, WTHN’s Coordinated Entry Line is 325-260-1417.

Crisis: an overwhelming situation that increases a person’s risk of homelessness. Job loss and eviction are two common examples of crises that can lead to risk of homelessness. When a person is in crisis, they may lose the ability to meet their own needs without assistance.


Diversion From Homelessness: an intervention designed to immediately address the needs of someone who has just lost their housing and become homeless or is at risk of being homeless (also see “Person-Centered Approach” below). Read more about diversion here:

HMIS (Housing Management Information System): The information system that is required of all HUD-funded (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) housing programs and coordinated entry points and users. It is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. Each Continuum of Care (CoC) is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD's data collection, management, and reporting standards. 

Functional Zero: : this is a milestone indicating homelessness has been effectively ended for a population. Functional Zero is not permanent — it must be sustained. While sustaining Functional Zero, individuals may still experience homelessness, but those experiences are rare and brief. In Abilene, we have achieved and sustained Functional Zero for our Military Veteran population and are working toward the milestone for Children and Families. Read more about Functional Zero here:

Homelessness: the state of being without adequate nighttime residence. This includes living in a shelter, outside, or a place not intended for habitation.

Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness: we use this (or just “neighbors”), instead of “homeless people,” because these are people living in our community — first and foremost — no matter their living arrangements.

Person-Centered Approach: tailoring services and other assistance to the specific needs of an individual rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach. Often, assistance in solving one specific problem (first month’s rent, application and deposit fees, landlord mediation, etc.) can help with Diversion from Homelessness.

Resiliency: the ability to bounce back. People tend to be resilient! Even when a person has experienced chronic homelessness, they can still bounce back to a state of maintaining their own living situation, given assistance.

Sheltered vs. Unsheltered: many people have shelter but are not considered to be homeless. Unsheltered includes people who live in a shelter, outside, or in a place not meant for habitation.

Stability vs. Instability (of Housing): having reliable access to safe and stable housing. Without this access, a person is considered to have Housing Instability. Stability is indicated by having safe and stable housing with little or no vulnerability to homelessness.

VI-SPDAT (Vulnerability Index - Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool): a survey administered both to individuals and families to determine risk and prioritization when providing assistance to homeless and at-risk of homelessness persons.

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