State scheduled to end rental assistance for families in HomeBASE program: Thousands of families vulnerable to return to homelessness

February 27, 2013


State scheduled to end rental assistance for families in HomeBASE program:
Thousands of families vulnerable to return to homelessness

BOSTON – Today at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, the Legislature
was asked to protect thousands of families who could become homeless if a program meant to prevent
homelessness is allowed to expire. The HomeBASE program, designed to assist families most in need, is
scheduled to begin cutting rental support for families on July 1. The rental support, one of the key
components of the state’s homelessness prevention program, is set to expire for participants over the
course of FY14, with 62% of the more than 6,800 families who entered the program to be dropped by
January 1, 2014.

According to statewide data released by the Department of Housing and Community Development
(DHCD) last fall, families participating in HomeBASE have an average monthly income of $795, while
residing in apartments that cost on average $1,173 per month. The state estimates that if the rental
assistance ended today, 78% of families in the program would pay more than 100% of their incomes to
rent. The Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP), which administers HomeBASE in greater
Boston, projects that 85% of families in its region would use all of their income to pay rent.

According to Chris Norris, MBHP’s Executive Director, without continuing rental support or affordable
housing options, these families are at risk of becoming homeless again. “It’s simple math,” says Norris,
“Massachusetts is a high-rent state, and families cannot pay more for rent than what they bring home.”

Willie Jones, a single father who, along with his daughter, has benefited greatly from HomeBASE, is one
of the families in danger of falling back into homelessness if funding is cut for the program. Willie told a
crowd at the State House today that in the past he has worked two or more jobs to help provide for
himself and his daughter, but an injury he endured on the job has left his family vulnerable. Jones is
working hard to get healthy so that he can return to full-time work, but until he is medically cleared, their
situation could get desperate. “I have received a lot of resources from the HomeBASE program, and have
taken advantage of all the workshops and services available to me, but without the security of a highpaying job, I cannot afford market rent in today’s climate,” says Jones. Jones is a proud man. One who
doesn’t shy from hard work or responsibility. He just needs a little assistance to get back on his feet.
“HomeBASE is a great program for people who want to better themselves and their children’s lives,” says
Jones. “I am very thankful for everything that the program has done for me, and know that a year or more
of HomeBASE assistance would ensure my ability to survive and provide for my children in a today’s
economic climate.”


MBHP is the state’s largest regional provider of rental housing voucher assistance. We serve homeless,
elderly, disabled, and low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Our region spans Boston and
29 surrounding communities. Our mission is to ensure that the region’s low- and moderate-income
individuals and families have choice and mobility in finding and retaining decent affordable housing; all
of our programs and initiatives are designed to encourage housing stability, increase economic selfsufficiency, and enhance quality of the lives of those we serve. To achieve our mission and to promote
efficient service delivery, we work collaboratively with a broad array of service providers and
neighborhood-based organizations.

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