In Massachusetts, homelessness affects thousands of poor working people and individuals with physical and behavioral health disabilities who cannot afford a place to live and, in many cases, require supportive services and case management in order to live in an independent setting. These individuals often rely on expensive emergency room and hospital visits, the correctional system, emergency shelters, and the streets to provide them with a place to stay. As a result, the moral, social, and financial costs of homelessness are significant.
Massachusetts, like most jurisdictions in the United States, has reacted to homelessness with an emergency response for more than 30 years, encouraging individuals to go to homeless shelters when they find themselves with nowhere to go. These shelters then grew into the acceptable housing niche for an entire population of people within our communities; the result is unacceptable. While shelters have indeed saved lives, they are not a permanent solution to homelessness. MHSA focuses its energy and resources on using evidence-based best practices, innovative program design and rigorous evaluation to demonstrate that providing permanent housing with supportive services is in the best interest of homeless individuals, government, and society at large.