In 2018, MHSA announced our newest initiative: A Place to Live (PTL). This scalable, cost-effective permanent supportive housing consists of models that can be replicated in communities across the Commonwealth to provide housing to people with highest need and who have been homeless for many years. Based on a design concept by architects Margulies Perruzzi, this housing is modular – constructed off-site, the finished micro-units are then transported and re-assembled at the site.

Through the expansion of PTL across Massachusetts, MHSA will be focusing on racial equity and creating ways that housing and services are available to people who need them the most, in order to close the persistent racial gaps in homelessness. Most people of color, especially African Americans and Indigenous people, experience homelessness at higher rates than Whites, largely due to long-standing historical and structural racism.

For this initiative, MHSA will be working with partners like regional housing authorities, community-based organizations, local governments and health organizations to develop both non-congregate shelter settings and micro-unit housing with support services. MHSA will also be engaging members of our Speakers’ Bureau to educate communities about what experiencing homelessness is like, the impact it has on a person’s health and well-being and the importance of having stable, supportive housing.

In June 2020, Worcester Housing Authority became the first agency in the state to receive permits and state approval for adopting the micro-unit concept. A Place to Live: Worcester will provide permanent supportive housing for adults experiencing long-term homelessness. The construction provides 24 rooms for single adults and one room for a live-in house manager. A case manager will help the tenants access the services they need, including behavioral health, primary care, job training programs, and addiction treatment. The building will offer easy access to transportation and other amenities and is expected to be ready for tenants at the end of 2021.

Ultimately, A Place to Live will provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to shelters across Massachusetts.