Homeless people search for food, shelter, and clothing to sustain themselves. Life is a daily struggle. Individuals displaced from their homes must often provide proof of homelessness to receive vital assistance. Food stamps, housing programs and some job training programs require such documentation.

Proving Homelessness

Contact an agency and determine what documentation you must provide to receive assistance. Each applicant applying for assistance from government agencies must provide information verifying neediness. Some homeless individuals reside in dwellings such as cars, parks or abandoned buildings, and providing proof of their residence is difficult. Example of documents that prove homelessness (actual or pending) include eviction notices, notice to quit (leave) from landlord or letters notifying the homeless person that he must leave the property.

Make a list of all of the documents and signatures that you will need to qualify for aid. Gathering together the necessary documents is a daunting task. The application process often requires extensive documentation. Avoid delays in processing an application by providing all necessary paperwork at the beginning of the qualification process.

If another person (third-party) must sign documentation to verify your homelessness, supply the third-party with the required documents. Tell the signer what information she will verify as well as who will receive the signed document. The third-party may provide the necessary information in the form of a letter. In writing a verification letter, the third-party should use letterhead stationary, include the client's full name and dates of homelessness and provide any other pertinent information. The third-party may be a homeless shelter provider, outreach worker, social worker, member of law enforcement, church official, provider of medical services or a member of any human service entity that can validate the homeless person's information.

Submit the completed forms to the appropriate agency. Receipt of aid is based on category of homelessness. Classifications of homelessness include youth, adult, accompanied, unaccompanied, disabled and military veteran. Determine the program or agency that will provide you the most benefit and assistance.


Inform agency representatives of income increase or decrease. You may qualify for more assistance according to your changing financial circumstance. A homeless person may be disoriented, suffering from from memory loss or otherwise incapable of providing an accurate account of living arrangement and history. Under such circumstances, the individual may provide a self-statement explaining the situation. The self-statement is essentially self-verification of homelessness; it is a last resort for certifying homelessness.


Ensure that you receive copies of all signed documentation. You may need the same information to apply for other types of assistance. Different agencies have different categories of homelessness and criteria for receiving aid. One must register at each individual agency to receive assistance. Ask the representative from each agency the specific client requirements.

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About the Author

Miriam Breeze, a freelance writer since 2009, is a 12-year Marine Corps veteran and was a merchant mariner for five years. She specializes in health care topics and has published articles on eHow.com and Answerbag.com. She has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from National University and a California registered nursing license.