Mayor Announces Details of $30M Plan to Alleviate Family and Individual Homelessness
Ambitious Goals Include Increased Access to Jobs, Services, and Housing Support
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For Immediate Release
March 05, 2010
Released By:
Neighborhood Development
For More Information Contact:
Lucy Warsh
lwarsh.dnd@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today released a detailed plan for how the City will meet its ambitious goals of eliminating long-term individual homelessness and cutting family homelessness by 50%, set forth last spring in the Mayor’s Leading the Way III housing plan.  Noting a step in the right direction toward these targets, the Mayor highlighted a 2% decline in the total homeless count from December’s 30th Annual Homeless Census, as well as a decrease in the number of homeless families after four consecutive years of large increases.

“Despite the recession, we were able to reduce the number of homeless adults for the fifth year in a row and saw our first decrease in family homelessness in several years. Any progress in stemming the rising tide of homelessness in this economy is a hopeful signal of what we can begin to accomplish when the hard work and commitment of city and community leaders, and our state and federal partners are all aligned,” said Mayor Menino. “I want to thank our Leadership Council on Homelessness for their help in setting an aggressive agenda to reduce homelessness in Boston going forward.”

In December of 2008, Boston was awarded $1.7 million to support its homeless programs as part of the state’s regional initiative, designed to support better coordination of services and links to permanent housing and support services for homeless individuals and families in eight regional pilot networks across Massachusetts. Mayor Menino subsequently assembled business and philanthropic leaders, homeless providers and City officials to comprise the Boston Regional Network Leadership Council, and has charged them with formulating Boston’s response to homelessness and assist in the programming of future resources the City obtains for homelessness.

In the spring of 2009, the City was allotted $8.2 million in Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – bringing Boston’s total budget for addressing the issue of homelessness to close to $30 million  – and allowing the City to support the work of 15 specialized organizations in providing financial assistance and housing stabilization services to prevent at-risk households from losing their housing and becoming homeless. 

In October of 2009, the Leadership Council provided to the Mayor recommendations regarding Boston’s homelessness targets as described in his Leading the Way III plan, which were later incorporated into a report, the details of which were released today.

Among other things, the report describes a substantial addition to the City’s previous homelessness strategy that focused on minimizing street homelessness through the provision of a robust emergency shelter system. The new plan focuses on efforts to provide permanent housing and other support in addition to shelter, relying on these five principles:

  1. Prevention and Diversion of individuals or families at risk of homelessness through creation of an early warning system; strengthening homeless prevention networks; shelter diversion programs, and rental housing market stabilization initiatives. 
  2. Emergency Shelter and Outreach services for homeless adults and families, especially elderly and disabled adults with medical and behavioral health issues.
  3. Housing Placement Services though which the City will help people exit homelessness and move more quickly into existing permanent housing with support.
  4. New Housing Production as part of the City’s commitment to the creation of new housing that meets the needs of all homeless individuals.
  5. Sustainable Permanent Housing in an effort to stabilize homeless individuals so that the cycle does not repeat itself.

             
This year’s census took place on December 14, 2009, and brought together business, civic, state and City leaders, and more than 330 volunteers to count homeless residents on city streets, in shelters, and domestic violence, transitional and treatment programs across Boston. Highlights of the survey include:

  • A rise in the number of homeless people on the street that reflects an increase in the number of
  • homeless adults seeking shelter in transit hubs, and the addition of two new survey areas this year.
  • Adults seeking emergency shelter were slightly lower for the fifth consecutive year, and the
  • number homeless families was about level, the first year without a major increase since 2005. 
  • Although this year’s street count increased by 36 people, Boston’s rate of street homelessness –
  • 3.4% – remains far below the national average, which shows that 41.8% of the country’s homeless are unsheltered. Furthermore, while there are no families living on the streets in Boston, the national average of homeless families that are unsheltered is at 27.2%.

  

2009-10 Annual Homeless Census Preliminary Results

Homeless Census Selected Numbers:

 

2008-09

2009-2010

% change

HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS

 

 

 

 

Street Count

 

219

255

16%

Adults in Emergency Shelter

 

1,335

1,317

-1%

Adults in Transitional Housing Programs

 

927

795

-14%

Adults in Detox and Substance Abuse Recovery    

 

799

832

+4%

Adults in Hospitals and Medical Respite

 

215

214

0

Adults in Mental Health Facilities                       

 

271

255

-6%

 

 

 

 

 

MIX of INDIVIDUAL and FAMILY BEDS

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence

 

218

210

-4%

Adolescent

 

49

53

8%

                         

 

 

 

 

HOMELESS FAMILIES

 

 

 

 

Persons in Boston Family Emergency Congregate Shelter     

 

698

560

-20%

Persons in Boston Family Emergency Scattered Site Shelter

 

1,160

1,627

+40%

Persons in Boston Family Transitional Housing

 

476

320

-22%

Persons in Motels or Shelters Outside Boston

 

1,321

1,078

-18%

Family Substance Abuse and Recovery                

 

48

42

-13%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Number of Family Households

 

1,399

1,369

-1.2%

 

 

 

 

 

Total Individual Adults (Street, Shelter, Substance Abuse,

 

 

Mental Health, Health Care, Transitional Housing

 

3,827

3,733

-3%

Total Persons in Families (adults and children)

 

3,852

3,796

-1.5%

Total Children in All Homeless Programs 

 

2,288

2,299

0%

 

 

 

 

 

Total All Homeless

 

7,681

7,529

-2%

 

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