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Annual Homeless Census

On January 29, 2020, volunteers will gather at City Hall to help us better quantify homelessness in Boston.

In the annual Homeless Census, volunteers, along with Mayor Martin Walsh, will go out through all neighborhoods of Boston to survey and offer shelter and services to people staying on the street.

Still have questions? Contact:
Neighborhood Development
26 Court Street
8th, 9th, and 11th Floors
Boston MA  02108-2501
United States

From Homeless to Home

Homeless census 200108 (1200)

To end chronic homelessness, we need to understand the scope of the problem.

To do that, each year the City of Boston conducts a Homeless Census, where we tally the number of people living on the street, in shelters, or in living situations other than permanent housing.

How it works

The Homeless Census counts people in two ways.  We track how many people are using services, like emergency shelters, transitional housing, and treatment programs. At the same time, we collect information about household demographics, income level, family size, and the community of origin for each person.  

Together, this data helps us understand who we are serving, and what gaps there are in our services.  It helps us understand our priorities, so we can design even better policies. Census results also inform federal funding, and help measure progress in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness. 


Thank you for your interest in supporting the City of Boston Annual Homeless Census. Volunteer registration is now closed. We regret that we cannot accommodate everyone interested in becoming a volunteer and invite you to explore other ways to help end homelessness in Boston in the section below.

Other ways you can help


Join the Winter Walk Boston on February 9, 2020. The Walk supports street outreach, advocacy, job training and local home placement service providers.


Finding safe and affordable units for homeless individuals in Boston is our goal, and we can’t do it without you! The City of Boston is piloting a Landlord Guarantee Fund. We're giving resources and financial help to small landlords new to renting to homeless households. Other cities have put in place similar programs and found success.

Program benefits include

  • motivated tenants,
  • a dedicated landlord partner,
  • access to landlord resources including mediation services, and
  • access to funds for losses including unpaid rent and excessive damages.

Through this program, we are creating opportunities for you to provide a stable place to call home for some of the most vulnerable residents in our City.

  • New Life Furniture Bank is an essential partner in the City's initiative to end chronic and veteran homelessness. They need a variety of different types of volunteers.
  • New England Center and Homes for Veterans is ending homelessness through housing and employment.
  • Friends of Boston's Homeless is dedicated to helping people move beyond homelessness into stability. View more information about volunteer opportunities. 
  • Whether they work in the kitchen, distribute clothing, or assist with mock interviews, volunteers help ensure the quality of St. Francis' services for Boston’s poor and homeless.
  • More than 5,000 volunteers every year help Pine Street Inn provide shelter, housing and other crucial services to homeless men and women. Donations of time and talent help us continue the mission of ending homelessness.

Sheltered Census Trainings

Trainings and submission instructions for the 2020 sheltered census will be added soon. If you have a question in the meantime, please contact our HMIS Help Desk.