Special to The Patriot Bridge
Mayor Michelle Wu last week announced the City of Boston has received more than $42 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support nonprofit organizations providing services to individuals experiencing homelessness. This award represents the largest Continuum of Care award ever for the City of Boston. The funds will be distributed among 14 nonprofit organizations that provide critical services and support to Boston’s unhoused residents and advance Mayor Wu’s goals to end homelessness in the city.
The funding is made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annual Continuum of Care awards, a grant program that the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) has applied for and been awarded every year since 1995. Over the last 8 years, MOH has grown the funding the City receives from this grant by more than 85 percent, from $22.6 million in 2015 to $42 million this year, as a result of their competitive application and demonstrated ability to deliver results in collaboration with partner agencies.
“Boston residents and families across every neighborhood deserve to live in safe, stable and affordable housing,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to ensure that Boston is a city where all can live and thrive, these Continuum of Care Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will help us empower and support organizations that provide crucial services and support to our unhoused residents. I want to thank HUD Secretary Fudge and the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation for the City of Boston’s largest Continuum of Care award ever and continued federal support as we work together to end homelessness in our city.”
The City will allocate this federal HUD funding to organizations that offer a range of services and supports including housing search, the creation of housing for people experiencing long-term homelessness, rapid re-housing funds, and stabilization services to allow newly housed households and long-term-homeless individuals to receive the support they need to succeed.
“Boston has a successful network of experienced non-profit organizations committed to housing our homeless,” said Sheila Dillon, Chief of Housing. “This funding award allows us to continue the important work of moving our homeless residents from shelters and the street into housing that they can afford with the services they need to be successful. Given the high cost of housing in Boston and the region, this funding award, the largest in our Continuum’s history, is more important than ever.”
The funds will also support a number of permanent housing models including permanent subsidized housing, transitional housing, and short-to-medium-term rental assistance and case management for participants to find and maintain housing on the private market (rapid re-housing). The permanent supportive housing that is supported by this funding will combine subsidized housing with individualized support services so that individuals with a range of needs can receive the assistance they need to stay housed. The services are designed to build independent living skills and connect people with services such as community-based health care, help with mental health issues, substance use counseling, and employment services.
Organizations receiving funding include:
• Bay Cove Human Services
• Bridge Over Troubled Waters
• Casa Myrna Vazquez
• Roxbury Stone House
• FamilyAid Boston
• Heading Home
• Justice Resource Institute
• Kit Clark Senior Services
• Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
• Metro Housing Boston
• New England Center and Home for Veterans
• Pine Street Inn
• St. Francis House
• The Home for Little Wanderers
“The Continuum of Care awards reinforce the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to addressing the nation’s homelessness crisis using equity and evidence-based solutions,” said Juana B. Matias, Regional Administrator of HUD New England. “Of the $2.8 billion recently granted, the State of Massachusetts received more than $110,000,000, and I am very pleased that the City of Boston is putting its share of the funding to good use helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing.”
Three new programs received funding through this year’s award. Casa Myrna and Stone House received additional funding to provide permanent housing and supportive services to households fleeing domestic violence (DV), sexual assault, and commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking with permanent housing. St. Francis House will provide additional permanent supportive housing with wraparound services and onsite support to long term homeless households. Funding for these programs will allocate an additional $3.2 million to house vulnerable populations.
“We are immensely grateful to the City of Boston and HUD for their unwavering support of our efforts to combat homelessness in the community,” said Karen LaFrazia, President and CEO, St. Francis House. “This funding will enable us to continue providing vital services to those in need, supporting our commitment to developing strong relationships with individuals who come to us for assistance. By instilling hope and belief in their ability to make positive change, we empower formerly homeless individuals to move forward with their lives. We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the City of Boston, and look forward to continuing our work together to end homelessness in Boston.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the City of Boston and HUD for their continued support of our mission to end family homelessness in Greater Boston,” said Larry Seamans, President, FamilyAid. “With this funding, we can continue to empower parents and caregivers, providing them with the resources they need to secure stable and sustainable housing, and build strong foundations for their children’s futures. The ongoing partnership with the City of Boston and HUD has been instrumental in our ability to make a positive impact on the lives of families in our community. Together, we can make a real difference in ending homelessness for families in Boston.”
Mayor Wu has made ending homelessness a priority. Boston offers services to homeless individuals by offering wraparound services to those who require the additional level of care. Chronically homeless individuals have barriers that create challenges to remaining housed. These barriers can include physical disabilities, substance use disorders, and mental health challenges. As part of Boston’s plan, the City is committed to a “housing first” approach to homelessness which is based on the belief that everyone should have access to permanent housing. In 2022, Boston housed 2,420 people experiencing homelessness including 461 family households and 1,054 adult individuals. Among those are 113 youth and young adults as well as 149 veterans.
“We are deeply grateful to the City of Boston and HUD for their commitment to supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our community,” said Stephanie Brown, CEO, Casa Myrna. “This critical funding will enable Casa Myrna to continue providing life-saving services and resources to those who have experienced trauma and abuse. With this support, we can work towards creating a safer, more just society for all. We appreciate the City of Boston for recognizing the importance of this work and for investing in the wellbeing of survivors and their families.”
In January, Mayor Wu led a group of volunteers, including City and State officials, homeless services providers, and public health and safety first responders, in conducting the City of Boston’s 43rd annual unsheltered homeless street count. The street count is part of the City’s comprehensive census of homeless adults, youth and families in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and domestic violence programs, and individuals staying outside in Boston each year.