Building on his commitment to creating housing that is accessible to all, Mayor Martin J .Walsh today announced that the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) has been awarded $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund 139 housing vouchers for residents with disabilities, homeless families and chronically homeless individuals. The funding was awarded through the Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, which enables residents with disabilities and their families to access affordable housing and an array of supportive services through partnership agreements between the BHA and local agencies.
“These vouchers will provide a much needed housing lifeline for some of our city’s most vulnerable families and individuals with disabilities, while offering services that can help to foster a better quality of life,” said Mayor Walsh. “The new vouchers fulfill a promise to all our residents, including those with disabilities, that there will always be a home for them here in Boston.”
The new vouchers will be issued immediately to eligible homeless families referred to BHA through the state’s Leading the Way Home program and to chronically homeless individuals referred through the City of Boston’s Coordinated Access System.
“This was a golden opportunity to offer housing security to residents who need it the most,” BHA Acting Administrator Kate Bennet said. “With the winter cold well underway, these vouchers could not have come at a better time.”
“This is great news for families experiencing homelessness that we serve through our shelter and housing services and for the North Dorchester/Roxbury community that Project Hope is committed to,” Project Hope Executive Director Christine Dixon said. “Stable housing is a necessary platform for families to reach their goals including education, careers; it allows kids to get to school regularly, and actually improves the health of a family. These vouchers will be life-changing for many in our community.”
These vouchers build on the Mayor’s comprehensive approach to ending homelessness. Through the efforts of Boston’s Way Home, Mayor Walsh’s initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness, Boston has made significant progress in preventing and ending homelessness among individual adults, including ending chronic veteran homelessness. Through this initiative, over 880 chronically homeless individuals have been housed, representing more than 5,400 cumulative years of homelessness ended. As a result, chronic homelessness has been reduced by 19 percent during a time that there have been increases in chronic homelessness nationally. Furthermore, the City’s partners housed over 1,170 homeless veterans and reduced homelessness among Veterans by 36 percent.
Just last month, Mayor Walsh joined members of the City’s Youth Action Board and partner organizations to release a new action plan, Rising to the Challenge, which is focused on preventing and ending youth and young adult homelessness in Boston. As an immediate action item towards implementing the plan, Mayor Walsh awarded $4.7 million in grant funds to create 157 new housing opportunities dedicated to serving youth and young adults.
Earlier this year, Mayor Walsh and the BHA announced the issuance of 1,000 new rental housing vouchers for chronically homeless residents and families in Boston. The vouchers were funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and increased the BHA’s portfolio of vouchers to 13,500.
As an action item stemming from Mayor Walsh’s call to raise $10 million over four years to create supportive, sustainable, long-term housing for chronically homeless individuals through the Boston’s Way Home Fund, the City is partnering with the Pine Street Inn to develop 202 units of supportive and income-restricted housing in Jamaica Plain for formerly homeless individuals. The project includes 140 units of supportive housing designated for individuals receiving services from Pine Street Inn. The remaining 62 units are income-restricted, and will be available to low- and moderate-income households with a range of incomes. This development represents the City’s largest permanent housing development for individuals experiencing homelessness.