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.
We can end homelessness — but not with emergency shelters alone. Although necessary, these shelters are meant to be short-term interventions, and they don’t provide the most essential component of ending homelessness: housing.
MHSA spearheaded the introduction of Housing First programs in Massachusetts. The Housing First approach centers around providing permanent housing as the solution to homelessness and the foundation for people experiencing homelessness to pursue their goals. Guided by the belief that everyone can achieve stability in permanent housing directly from homelessness, Housing First’s framework prioritizes providing a place to live as quickly as possible.
Permanent supportive housing is a Housing First intervention typically targeted to people who have experienced chronic homelessness and also face the challenges of chronic illnesses, mental health needs or substance use disorders. Supportive services are offered to help them stay housed and improve their quality of life. Rapid re-housing provides short-term support, often in the form of rental assistance. The goal is to quickly get the person into housing so they can maintain their self-sufficiency and then stay housed.