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 shelters 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 ends this tragedy by placing our community’s vulnerable people in housing first.

  • Moves people immediately from the streets/shelters into their own apartments – immediately ending their homelessness and improving their quality of life.
  • Embraces the powerful belief that by removing the chaos of living on the streets and in shelters, people can finally engage in services and go on to live stable independent lives.
  • Demonstrates that once people are housed they 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 1,200 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 $12,000/person annually 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 is Housing Start-up Costs: security deposits, first/last month’s rent, initial rental gaps, and essential furniture and household items like beds and linens we all need for our new homes. Because all are homeless, their savings are usually non-existent and none have furniture or other household items we need to make our house a home. Housing First

Friends Housing Start-up Fund

  • Provides support for critical initial housing costs, like security deposits and first month’s rent, to help move people directly from the streets/shelters and right into safe, dignified housing: immediately ending their homelessness and improving their quality of life.
  • Provides essential furniture and household items like new beds and linens for people as they move into their own apartments – many for the first time in their lives – and gets them started on their journey to living peaceful, hopeful lives.
  • Ends homelessness and transforms lives, providing a dignified, effective, and cost-saving solution for people struggling with homelessness, their families, and our community as a whole.

Read about our Housing First successesTheir stories, and the hundreds more like them, are the best  testament to the power of Housing People 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 our Housing 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 our Housing Start-up Fund in action.

Boston Ends Chronic Veteran Homelessness

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


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