Photo of Sherman on his porch

The Pay for Success (PFS) initiative showcases the effectiveness of adopting a Housing First approach. PFS is a permanent supportive housing initiative that has housed more than 1,000 tenants since its launch in 2015. PFS integrates housing dollars with service dollars to keep people in housing and out of emergency shelters.

PFS program participants represent the most vulnerable in our community, particularly those who have disabling conditions and are at risk of high health care costs. In the six months prior to entering housing, PFS participants accumulated more than:

73,000 nights in shelter

4,500 days in the hospital

1,800 emergency room visits

1,400 nights in detox

850 ambulance calls

MHSA partners with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Corporation of Supportive Housing (CSH) to serve as the intermediary between investors, providers and the Commonwealth, and to subcontract with homeless service providers for housing and support services. The innovative PFS initiative leverages a mix of philanthropic funding and private investor capital from United Way, Santander Bank and CSH to provide the upfront funding with supplemental public resources like subsidies. An independent evaluator, Root Cause, evaluates PFS regularly for its impact.

PFS was created with the objective to house 500 to 800 individuals experiencing homelessness over six years. In July 2020, after just five years, PFS successfully housed 1,000 people, including 248 Veterans. More than 80% of PFS tenants have been enrolled in the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH). CSPECH is recognized nationally as a model for funding the support services component of permanent supportive housing with Medicaid dollars.