Housing People First

Ending Homelessness in Boston

Housing First is ending homelessness by providing people who’ve struggled for years on the streets and in shelter with safe, dignified housing and connecting them with the supports they need to rebuild their lives. People experiencing homelessness have myriad vulnerabilities. They suffer from complex health and mental health disabilities that are essentially impossible to address amidst the chaos of homelessness. They are also often victims of crime, their safety constantly at risk.

Housing First is ending this tragedy for our community’s most vulnerable people by placing them in housing first.

  • Moves people immediately from the streets/shelters into their own apartments – immediately removing the chaos of living on the streets and in shelters.
  • Embraces the powerful belief that by removing the chaos of living on the streets and in shelters, vulnerable people can finally engage in services and go on to live stable independent lives.
  • Demonstrates that once housed, people connect with health care providers and case managers, engage in support groups, establish routines, build relationships with family, friends, and community, and move on to more independent living; decreasing their need for services over time.

Housing People First Works

Friends of Boston’s Homeless supports four tremendously successful Housing First Programs in Boston: HUES (high users of emergency services) to Home, SSVF (Homeless Veterans and their families), Linking Treatment to Housing (homeless people struggling with mental health and addictions) and Home to Stay (long-term shelter stayers).

  • Since 2009, Friends has helped over 1,000 people move into in safe, dignified permanent housing (27% slept in places not meant for human habitation prior to being housed).
  • Today over 90% remain in their homes and have not returned to the streets or shelters.
  • Saves our community over $13,000/person per year in health care and public safety alone once someone is housed rather than living on the streets or in shelters – providing a dignified and cost-effective solution to homelessness.

The most significant barrier to immediately housing people, however, is Housing Start-up Expenses: security deposits, first/last month’s rent, initial rental gaps, and essential furniture and household items. Because all are long-term homeless, their savings are usually non-existent and none have furniture or other household items we all need to make a house a home. Housing First

Friends Housing First Start-up Fund

  • Provides support for critical initial housing costs, like security deposits and first month’s rent, to get people right off the streets and right into housing: immediately improving their quality of life.
  • Provides essential furnishings and household items for long-term homeless individuals as they move into their own apartments – many for the first time in their lives. 
  • Ends homelessness, providing a dignified solution and saving our community significantly.

Read about our Housing First residents’ successesTheir stories, and the hundreds more like them, are the real testament to the power of Housing First. How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions. And, how a place of one’s own that is peaceful, safe, and dignified can transform lives.

You too can be part of the solution by making a donation to the Housing First Start-up Fund. Or, browse our Housewarming Registry, where you can help provide essential household items that transform an empty new apartment into a warm, welcoming home for people as they move off the streets and out of shelters into a safe dignified place of their own.

Read this heartwarming blog post, Hugs & Smiles, about the the Housing First Start-up Fund in action.

Boston Ends Veteran Homelessness

Friends would like to acknowledge our very generous partners in our Housing First work to end chronic homelessness in Boston:


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