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$16.5 Million from HUD to Address Unsheltered Homelessness

Funding will support City’s housing-centered approach to intersecting crises centered in area known as “Mass and Cass".

 Mayor Michelle Wu today announced that the City of Boston has been awarded $16.5 million over three years, the full amount requested, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address unsheltered homelessness, securing unprecedented resources to build on the City's housing-centered approach to the intersecting crises of unsheltered homelessness, substance use disorder, and mental health centered in the area of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. In addition to receiving the funding, the City was also awarded 76 stability vouchers to support residents and families ability to stay in housing. This funding will create 372 housing opportunities for individuals or families with severe service needs and histories of unsheltered homelessness.

“This unprecedented federal grant is a recognition of our coordinated approach to the crisis of unsheltered homelessness and will allow us to work with the Commonwealth and providers to expand on the progress we have made,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “This funding will allow us to create more stable housing options for those who need it most, and provide wrap-around services to support them in their transition to permanent housing. We are grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for recognizing the successes we are having and for this commitment to our approach.”

“Over the last several years, government and non-profit partners in the City of Boston have exemplified what it looks like to collaboratively solve homelessness by using evidence-based programs and using a public health approach to helping people obtain stable homes with supportive services,” said Dr. Richard Cho, Senior Advisor for Housing and Services at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “HUD is pleased to award the City of Boston additional grants and housing vouchers to extend the reach of their success to the vulnerable people who have been sleeping night after night on Boston’s streets and other unsheltered settings.”

The funding will be distributed among several organizations that provide services and housing to those experiencing homelessness. Eliot Community Services will receive $6,269,520 over three years to house 105 individuals from the Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass area or other high-risk settings, either currently or recently unsheltered, who need both respite from the streets, medical stabilization, and a housing pathway. The Boston Housing Authority will receive $5,302,517 to create 45 flexible low-barrier housing vouchers, and 47 new stability vouchers, and leverage 45 mainstream vouchers to provide 137 housing opportunities for individuals or family households with severe service needs. Wrap-around services will be provided for all households.

“We at Eliot are grateful and proud to be in partnership with Mayor Wu, the City of Boston and HUD to implement the next chapter of innovative housing solutions for the most vulnerable among us,” said Keith Wales, Director of Homeless and Outreach Services, Eliot Community Human Services.

Family Aid Boston will receive $1,846,694 to place 10 families with high service needs in transitional housing for 90 days, bridge to rapid rehousing, and work toward permanent housing placement. Ecumenical Social Action Committee will receive $1,789,110 to house 16 Youth-Young Adult (YYA) households with a focus on underserved youth, young parents, and LGBTQ+ youth who are least likely to seek shelter and services due to safety issues in the adult and family shelter system. Pine Street Inn will receive $1,320,000 over three years to stabilize 75 clients in Boston Housing Authority public housing and provide housing navigation and stabilization services.

“This funding will allow us to expand services to those in need and provide more stable housing for the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing for the City of Boston. “We are grateful for the support of HUD and our partners in the community for their partnership and for this tremendous validation of our progress.”

This grant also leverages over $18 million to support health care organizations in their work to provide services and address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. Healthcare partners that committed leveraged services to this grant include Boston Medical Center Health System and the Boston Accountable Care Organization (BACO), Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, VA Boston, and MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid agency, which funds a wide array of services that our partners will leverage to keep people healthy and stable in housing. In addition, Mass General Brigham committed $600,000 in new flexible funding to help address unmet needs in this new initiative. 

“Homelessness is deeply connected to declines in physical and mental health, and high rates of chronic illness,” said Dr. Elsie Taveras, Chief Community Health and Health Equity Officer, Mass General Brigham. “At Mass General Brigham, we are proud to partner with the City of Boston through a commitment from the MGH Community Health Impact Funds, which come from the historic community investment made possible by the new Phillip and Susan Ragon Building being built at Massachusetts General Hospital. Supporting the most pressing needs of the communities we serve is a core part of our mission as a health system, and I want to congratulate Mayor Wu, Chief Dillon, and everyone involved in this monumental effort.”

The Mayor’s Office of Housing engaged a diverse array of 45 stakeholders, including the Boston Advisory Council on Ending Homelessness (BACHome) and persons with lived experience of homelessness, to develop the application. BACHome is composed of people with lived experience of homelessness in Boston. The Council provides guidance to City officials and other stakeholders with respect to policies, funding needs, and system improvements. BACHome Council members participated in the selection process for subgrantees for this federal funding and provided a letter of support for the application to HUD.

“I am so grateful for all the support my husband and I received here in Boston.  We can say from first-hand experience, nothing can replace the feeling of having your own place. My husband and I believe that everyone deserves a home of their own. That is why I was honored and pleased to help review the grant proposal that the City of Boston submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Delphia Bizzell, BACHome Council member. “Thank you to HUD for this grant, and we look forward to working with BacHome and the City of Boston to help our most vulnerable neighbors.” 

For more information about the award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address unsheltered homelessness in the City of Boston, please visit the MOH website.

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