Bringing Boston Home: New city plan tackles homelessness

A man sleeps on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
A man sleeps on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A new homelessness plan called Bringing Boston Home aims to significantly reduce homelessness in the city by 2016. 

“We’ve had great success in reducing homelessness, and the Leadership Council has courageously taken on some of the most difficult remaining issues faced by our homeless population,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said.

“We are going to help our most challenged and medically frail homeless off the street; make sure that the mentally ill, ex-offenders, and youth don’t unnecessarily wind up in shelter, and help families in subsidized housing keep their homes, even when unexpected circumstances make it hard to pay rent.”

The new plan examines seven key issues facing homeless individuals and provides recommendations aimed at solving the root causes of homelessness, including providing permanent housing and reducing the number of persistently unsheltered homeless individuals by 50 percent.

Specifically, the plan will address:

Street Homelessness – While Boston has a comparatively low number of people living on the street, this population tends to be particularly vulnerable, including seniors, unaccompanied youth, and individuals with chronic substance abuse issues, and mental and physical disabilities.

The goal of the plan is to reduce the number of persistently unsheltered homeless by 50 percent by the end of FY14.

High Utilizers of Emergency Services – 80 homeless individuals in the city use Boston’s hospital emergency rooms as a regular shelter option and health care provider; data have shown that permanent supportive housing options for these individuals produce not only improved health outcomes, but also an average 50 percent reduction in emergency room use.

The plan seeks to house all 80 of these individuals by 2016.

Homeless Individuals in Shelter – While there will always be a need for an emergency shelter system, it is designed only for short-term stays, not as a long-term solution.

The plan seeks to reduce the number of long-term homeless in Boston’s shelters by 50 percent, and to reduce their average length of stay by 25 percent.

Reducing Unnecessary Shelter Placement – Boston’s shelters are often used as a housing solution for institutions or communities without housing solutions of their own; often, individuals are released from the criminal justice and social service systems without sufficient housing support, and a lack of regional services and housing support outside the city means that Boston shelters a disproportionate number of homeless individuals from outside the city.

The plan will improve coordination with key Federal and State institutions, with a priority on getting veterans, the mentally ill, ex-offenders, and youth appropriate support to avoid placement in shelter.

Family Homelessness – The eviction of subsidized tenants is one of the key systems that can unnecessarily generate new family homelessness; once a family loses a rent subsidy due to eviction, it becomes more difficult for them to find permanent housing.

The plan seeks to reduce the number families with housing subsidies who are evicted solely for rent arrearages by 25 percent.

Workforce Development – To promote long-term stability and prevent recurring homelessness, the City will seek to expand access to appropriate educational, skill training and advancement opportunities.

Homeless Housing Production – Declining Federal resources mean that it will be much harder for the City to produce housing for the homeless at the historic rates of the last 20 years.

The plan calls for the City to maintain homeless housing production rates as close as possible to historic production rates, creating 225 units though FY16.
They city’s Leadership Council on Homelessness developed the plan over the last four years.

Last year, the city reported roughly 6,650 people in Boston were homeless – in 2002 there were 6,210.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.