Mayor Martin J.
Walsh recently led a group of hundreds of volunteers, including City and
State officials, community and civic leaders, and homeless providers in
conducting the City’s 39th annual homeless census. The street count is part
of a larger census of homeless adults and families in emergency shelters,
transitional housing, and domestic violence programs. The results from this
year’s homeless census will be available in the coming months.
“We have prioritized ending chronic homelessness
since day one and making sure that everyone has a place to call home,”
said Mayor Walsh. “Besides providing critical insight to guide our
efforts to end homelessness while offering immediately assistance to
individuals in need of shelter, the homeless census is always an opportunity
to embrace who we are as a community, the values we share, and how deeply we
care about one another.”
In 2017, Boston was identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) as the city with the lowest percentage
of unsheltered people living on the street of any city conducting a census.
Last year, less than three percent of Boston’s homeless population was
sleeping on the street. The annual homeless census is required by HUD as a
key component of Boston’s $26 million federal grant.
This year, 330 volunteers canvassed 45 areas covering
every neighborhood, Logan Airport, and the transit and parks systems.
Volunteers canvassed their assigned areas, identified those sleeping on the
street, and conducted a short survey. The surveys will be closely analyzed to
ensure accuracy and will be cross-checked and combined with the results of
the simultaneous shelter count.
The night the 2018 Annual Homeless Census was
conducted, 1,779 individuals were using Boston’s Emergency Shelter system,
compared to 1,762 in 2017. Boston also saw a decrease of more than 12 percent
in the number of individuals sleeping on the street. In January 2018, there
were 163 individuals sleeping on the street, as opposed to 186 in January
2017. Nationally, the number of unsheltered homeless has increased by 9
percent. There were no families staying on the streets or unsheltered in
Boston on the night of the census.
Boston’s Way Home,
the City’s plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness prioritizes the
housing first approach, meaning that when a person enters into the shelter
system, they begin a path toward permanent and stable housing. Since the
plan’s launch in 2015, City agencies and community partners have dramatically
redesigned the way services are delivered to homeless individuals, increasing
resources devoted to housing and deploying new technologies to match formerly
homeless people with housing and services.
Since the launch Boston’s Way Home, the City has:
667 chronically homeless individuals, representing more than 4,000 years
of homelessness ended. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
defines chronically homeless individuals as adults with a disability who
have been either living in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant
for human habitation continuously for 12 months or more, or who have had
four occasions of homelessness in the past three years that total 12
months or more.)
chronic homelessness in Boston by 20 percent from 2016 to 2018, and by
46 percent from 2008 to 2018
915 homeless veterans and ended chronic homelessness among veterans
the number of homeless veterans in Boston on a single night by 37
percent since 2015 and by 48 percent over the past 4 years
with six affordable housing owners in Boston to create a homeless
veteran preference within their housing
an action plan to support
young Bostonians experiencing homelessness Received $5
million in donations to build 200 new units of supportive, long-term
housing for chronically homeless men in women through Boston’s Way Home
The City of Boston recently received a $26.3 million federal grant to
support Boston’s homelessness programs. Boston was awarded the funding as the
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the results
of its annual 2018 McKinney Homeless Continuum of Care funding competition.
The award will be used to help end chronic and veteran homelessness in the
Mayor Walsh recently announced his legislative package
submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature to create greater opportunity for
all residents in the Commonwealth. The bills related to housing
security would prevent homelessness by helping existing
tenants, particularly older adults, remain in their homes, and create
additional funding for affordable housing. This work builds off Boston’s
commitment to ensuring all communities have affordable and equitable housing