On Healey administration’s watch, too many are at risk of falling through the cracks 


June 12, 2024 

In the June 5 editorial “Programs in Mission Hill and J.P. helped people with addiction,” about two temporary shelter arrangements for people experiencing homelessness, mental illness, or addiction, an official with the state Department of Public Health is paraphrased as saying that “the governor’s emphasis is on creating permanent housing for people who need it.” 

Let’s look at some of the facts when it comes to housing certain Massachusetts residents: 

The administration is set to close one of the shelters identified in the editorial. It is also moving to evict families from shelter with shorter notice than was expected, as outlined in a new law. Family shelter occupancy is limited to 7,500 households, yet the administration claims that the so-called right to shelter, as mandated by law, still exists. 

The administration also has made the MBTA zoning statute a cornerstone of its housing policy, even though certain communities admit they neutered it, and it does not include a requirement to develop any housing that will rent at less than market rate. 

Finally, much of the new housing production for families in Boston will not serve families in shelter or those who have extremely low incomes unless they receive a subsidy. Metro Housing|Boston’s Section 8 waiting list is more than 13 years long. 

Last year, at our organization, of those people who were at risk of becoming homeless and seeking emergency financial assistance to stay out of shelter, nearly one-quarter had zero income and another quarter reported income less than $15,600. 

One has to wonder who the administration feels is actually most in “need” of permanent housing. 

Christopher T. Norris 

Executive Director 

Metro Housing|Boston 

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