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Housing First Initiative

The Housing First Initiative Approach
In the City of Boston, roughly 10% of all homeless adults are chronically homeless and using shelters or living on the street longer than one year. Chronic homelessness can lead to many health issues. As a result, chronically homeless individuals receive approximately 80 percent of the costly emergency care and other services, such as street outreach to the homeless population. 

The Housing First Approach places a homeless individual in housing first and then provides services. The stability of permanent housing allows the individual and service providers to deal with any needs more easily. The Housing First Approach is also consistent with the continuum of care model of health care delivery.  

The Housing First Initiative Programs
The Homeless Services Bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission has several Housing First Initiative Programs to end chronic homelessness. These programs are low-threshold, permanent housing with support services. Housing First Initiative Programs give intensive stabilization, case management services, and individualized, community-based services. Services are given before and after permanent housing placement, such as street outreach and home visits.  Please see below for information on each program.

Home To Stay Program 
for “long-term shelter-stayers”

Linking Treatment to Housing Program
for dual-diagnosed individuals

The High-utilizers of Emergency Services to Home Program (HUES)
for chronically homeless individuals, who are frequent users of emergency services
across the City of Boston

Goals of services offered include:
  • Providing immediate housing and stability
  • Reducing substance use
  • Reducing psychiatric symptoms
  • Increasing long-term health outcomes and well-being
  • Receiving major net savings on emergency care costs
  • The Housing First Initiative Programs have many partners in the community. These partners help build relationships with homeless individuals and deliver well-rounded services. 

Housing First Initiative Programs work with:  
For more information on Housing First Initiative Programs, please call (617) 534-2526.
Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: