Serving the Most Vulnerable

We believe that ending homelessness in Massachusetts means helping the most vulnerable in our community. That’s why we center our work on housing solutions that put the most vulnerable — and their potential — first.

Our programs primarily serve unaccompanied homeless adults, especially those who have cycled in and out of homelessness for years or live with disabling conditions, including complex medical and behavioral issues that are challenging to manage in the unstable setting of homelessness. While these vulnerable adults can be costly users of our Commonwealth’s health care and criminal justice systems, we can conclusively point to improvements in health, stability and cost when they receive services with permanent housing through our member agencies.

If you are in need of shelter or other housing services, please click here.

Policymakers and Public Sector Leaders

We help policymakers at all levels of government understand the research that supports policies and programs that can end homelessness in their communities. But we don’t just advocate for better policy, we educate and share the latest research and case studies that affirm the health and financial benefits of permanent supportive housing.

Through this approach, we have helped to dramatically reduce the Commonwealth’s costly reliance on emergency resources and increased recognition of housing as a key social determinant of health. Our work is informed by demonstrated solutions to end homelessness, and we work with policymakers by advocating for strategic use of public and private funding to bring our most vulnerable neighbors home for good.

Implementing Partners

We work closely with state agencies, community-based agencies, policymakers, foundations and private sector partners. We now oversee nearly a dozen permanent supportive housing programs, two rapid-rehousing programs, a Safe Haven program for chronically homeless veterans and two programs that utilize community health workers to connect homeless individuals with serious mental health issues to services, medical care and housing.

MHSA provides solutions to homelessness, creates more cost-effective and humane programs and collaborates with our partners in both the private and public sectors to deliver reliable housing and resources in our communities.

Communities Throughout Massachusetts

State outline of Massachusetts

Since 1988, MHSA and its members have worked closely with the state to shift the Commonwealth’s response to homelessness away from an emphasis on emergency shelter and toward a focus on permanent supportive housing. We work with nearly 100 community-based member agencies across Massachusetts to encourage strategic use of resources based on research and best practices, initiate innovative strategies that provide cost-effective solutions to homelessness and educate others about the plight of people experiencing homelessness. Our collaborations with the government and the private sector have resulted in housing for thousands of people, along with a broad range of comprehensive community-based services, including medical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, case management, vocational training and life skills training that can break the cycle of homelessness.

Success Stories

Photo of Stephanie


Stephanie grew up outside of Boston with a supportive family, but following the death of one of her brothers and then the loss of her first child, her entire life turned upside down. She began self-medicating with drugs.

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Photo of Peter


Peter grew up in southeastern Massachusetts with a brother, two sisters and an abusive, alcoholic father, who encouraged him to start fights with others. Seeking his father’s approval, Peter would get into fights and hurt other people, but his violent and unstable home environment caused him to turn to alcohol and drugs by the age of 13.

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Photo of Karen in her kitchen


After struggling with financial and health issues, Karen was forced to make the difficult decision between spending the night in shelters crowded with strangers or on the streets hiding from predators every night.

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