Homelessness Declines in Massachusetts by 10.4 Percent

Ben Carson

BOSTON –  Homelessness declined 10.4 percent in Massachusetts according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

While overall homelessness decreased, HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that veterans experiencing homelessness declined 10 percent in state since 2016 and declined 46.6 percent since 2010.

In Massachusetts, local communities reported 17,565 experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, a decrease of 10.4 percent since last year.  Homelessness among families with children declined 14.2 percent across the state since 2016.  Local Massachusetts communities also report the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness decreased.

Ben Carson

“In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.  “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets.  This is not a federal problem—it’s everybody’s problem.”

“The collaborative work that has been done by our local, state and federal partners in Massachusetts towards ending homelessness is to be commended,” said David Tille, HUD New England Regional Administrator. “We know that there is more work to be done but the dedicated statewide partnership efforts taking place on the ground increases the likelihood that we will succeed.”

HUD’s national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.  Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care” and tens of thousands of volunteers seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.

Key National Findings of HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report:

On a single night in January 2017, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) in Massachusetts reported:

Ø  17,565 people were homeless representing an overall 10.4 percent decrease from 2016.

Ø  Most homeless persons, 16,574, were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while a total 991 persons were unsheltered.

Ø  The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined 14.2 percent since 2016.

Ø  Veteran homelessness decreased 10 percent (or 96 persons) since January 2016.  On a single night in January 2017, 853 Veterans were experiencing homelessness.

Ø  Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals decreased 2.7 percent over 2016 levels and declined by 38.3 percent (or 769 persons) since 2010.

Ø  The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 469.  This year, HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to more accurately account for this important, difficult to count population. HUD will treat 2017 as a baseline year for purposes of tracking progress toward reducing youth homelessness.