April 12, 2012



Study on the rapid re-housing of MA families experiencing homelessness
released by MBHP and the Center for Social Policy at UMass-Boston

BOSTON – The Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP) and the Center for Social Policy
(CSP) at UMass-Boston have just released a study on the Commonwealth’s rapid re-housing of families
experiencing homelessness.

The study focused on the experiences of 486 Massachusetts families living in shelters or motels who
received rapid re-housing assistance from six agencies covering four sections of the state. The authors of
the study (UMass-Boston Senior Research Fellows Tim H. Davis and Terry Saunders Lane) looked at the
housing and economic stability of these families after 12-18 months of program participation, and made
conclusions regarding outcomes, as well as recommendations going forward.

Of the 486 families participating in the study, 81% remained in a stable housing situation, and therefore
out of the shelter system. Due to growing disparity between income and rent prices, the large majority of
these families (77%) continue to receive either a short or long term rental subsidy in order to afford
market rent. Many of the study’s conclusions are intrinsically tied to this widening gap between income
and what is considered market rent in Massachusetts.

“The report points out the need to fix the policy hurdles that families face when they move out of
homelessness. That is, our housing, work and income support policies need to work together in ways that
benefit these families for both the short and long term.” said Donna Haig Friedman, CSP Director.
“Anything less is a necessary but short-term band-aid.”

A few of the study’s findings include the continued need for housing subsidies for families, a longer
period of time given for subsidies, the importance of housing services such as negotiations with landlords
during the lease-up period and to address tenancy problems, as well as accompanying stabilization
services (education and workforce and asset development, etc.). A broader conclusion from the study
underscored the urgency for the state to create additional affordable housing opportunities.

“This study confirms that with assistance and support, families can obtain and maintain housing,” said
Chris Norris, MBHP’s executive director. “Investing in families pays dividends in many ways, but like
most investments, it takes time and persistence to obtain high quality results. It does not happen

If you would like to read the full report, visit www.mbhp.org and click on the report’s link on the home


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: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Braintree Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge,
Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Newton, North Reading, Quincy,
Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester,
Winthrop and Woburn.

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 self-sufficiency, 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.

We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home.

For more information, contact MBHP Communications Manager Christopher Blagg at (617) 425-6691, or
visit www.mbhp.org.

The Center for Social Policy (CSP) is part of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and
Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a public research university with an urban
mission. Through its Reshaping Poverty Policy Agenda, the CSP provides expertise on policies and
practices that reduce social and economic inequalities through active engagement with policymakers,
researchers, service providers, and those communities most directly affected by these policies.
CSP engages in critical analysis of the structural causes for low wages, barriers to housing affordability,
the disparate distribution of resources and their impacts on families, communities and society as a whole.
Our inclusive, people-centered research methodologies generate solid evidence for reshaping policies by
producing and advancing viable policy options that address the root causes of economic hardship and
social exclusion.

For questions relating to the study, please contact Senior Research Fellow Terry Saunders Lane at 617-

For all other inquiries contact CSP Strategic Communications Specialist Michelle von Vogler at 617-287-
5557, or visit www.csp.umb.edu