What Is Transitional Housing?

Transitional housing refers to temporary accommodations for displaced individuals and families. The term "transitional" refers the impermanent nature of the lodging and to government programs that support transition to permanent accommodations.


The primary characteristic of transitional housing is that it is temporary.


Residents of transitional housing are classified as homeless individuals.

Other Names

Names for transitional housing include transitional shelters, transitional living programs and transitional housing programs. While there are distinctions among these terms, they all refer to transitional housing.


Transitional housing programs help homeless individuals and families obtain permanent housing within a specified period of time.

Homelessness Defined

The federal government classifies homelessness as a state in which a family or an individual lacks adequate nighttime residence on a regular, fixed basis. The classification includes residents of transitional housing. People in such circumstances are classified as homeless until they acquire permanent housing.