Home Again: Only a Home Ends Homelessness
Interactive Frequently Asked Questions

Interactive FAQs

  • How do people from our communities become homeless?

Very often, homeless people are just like any one of our neighbors, but faced a challenge that stretched their resources (financial, emotional, or physical) and resulted in homelessness.

People can become homeless for a number of reasons such as the financial strain of unexpected job loss or catastrophic illness, death of a loved one, aging out of foster care, domestic abuse, mental health issues, substance abuse, and returning from military service. Home Again is dedicated to serving the part of the homeless population that is chronically homeless.

 

Watch the interview with Thaddeus in which he tells his story about being homeless after having a successful career and climbing Mt. Everest.

 

Watch the interview with Bob in which he tells how being diagnosed with a catastrophic illness led to him becoming homeless.

 

Watch the Home Again interview with Congressman Jim McGovern in which he talks about the need for the community to help those who have become homeless.

 

Read Worcester Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson's profile of Ed, a Home Again participant.

 

  • What is "chronically homeless" as opposed to homeless?

A chronically homeless person is defined as an unaccompanied adult who is 18 or older with a disabling condition who has either been homeless continuously for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years and must have been living on the street or in an emergency shelter. Chronically homeless people represent only 10 to 20 percent of the homeless population yet they use a disproportionate share of emergency shelter and healthcare services.

 

Read a description of the people Home Again is designed to support.

 

Read the facts on chronic homelessness.

 

Watch the interview with Robert in which he talks about being caught in the cycle of chronic homeless.

  

  • Why does Home Again offer housing to homeless people without first requiring them to complete programs for substance abuse or mental health issues?

We believe that only a home ends homelessness. The Home Again model program is based on the best practices of housing-first programs proven successful in reducing and preventing chronic homelessness in other communities. Evidence shows that when homeless people are provided with a permanent home and support services without prerequisites for treatment or sobriety, there is significant success in maintaining housing stability and overcoming the factors that caused them to remain homeless. Housing first programs have also proven to significantly reduce costs to taxpayers and communities.

 

Watch the interview with Linda in which she talks about how having a permanent, stable home helped her face the issues the led to her becoming homeless.

 

Read reports from Massachusetts and other states that show how housing first model programs successfully created housing stability in chronically homeless individuals while lowering costs for communities.

 

o        The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance Report

o        The State of Maine's Cost Analysis

o        The Denver Housing First Collaborative Cost Benefit Analysis

o        Housing First for Long-Term Shelter Dwellers with Psychiatric Disabilities in a Suburban County: A Four-Year Study of Housing Access and Retention.

 

Read the news reports and columns that support the success of housing first.

o        US reports drop in homeless population- New York Times

o        Down Payment on a solution - Boston Globe editorial

o        First, housing: Homelessness strategy targets root causes Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorial

 

  • Shouldn't there be some conditions?

There are conditions our clients must meet before they are assisted with housing.

    • They must fit the definition of being chronically homeless, or at risk of becoming chronically homeless,
    • They must agree to pay 30 percent of their income towards rent,
    • They must agree to have a case worker visit them once a week.

Read the goals of Home Again.

 

  • Will the Home Again program cause property values to go down in my neighborhood?

The Home Again program will not reduce property values. A report by Worcester State College shows property values unaffected by nearby group homes or service providers and that property values in neighborhoods with "high concentrations" of group housing programs rose at approximately the same rate as property values throughout the city. Home Again is aware of community concerns and will make housing available to our clients throughout the city and the Greater Worcester area.

 

Read Home Again's statement of principles on informing the public on our project sites.

 

Read Mending Fences- The report by Worcester State College Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement that shows that property values did not decline due to social services in Worcester.

Read Opening Doors to Group Homes in Worcester- A report on research conducted by the Northeastern University School of Law that shows that neighbors of social service programs have a positive attitude toward the programs and that there are no adverse effects to the community.

Read the summary of the report issued by NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy that shows that properties adjacent to "supportive housing" developments do not lose value- in fact their value steadily increases. The New York Times editorialized in favor of supportive housing based on this report.

See photos of the newly refurbished Lt. Tommy Spencer House, the first multi-resident house for Home Again participants.

 

See photos of houses refurbished by other social service programs in Worcester.

  • Will the Home Again program cause my city or town to lose revenue and my taxes to go up?

The Home Again program will not take any properties off of your city or town's tax rolls. In fact, Home Again and our clients pay taxes when they pay rent on the units being used in the program. And, Home Again helps lower costs to taxpayers by transitioning chronically homeless adults out of the practice of using emergency shelters and healthcare services, which cost much more than the housing assistance and support services offered by Home Again.

 

Read the 2007 report by the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance that shows that when homeless people participated in the Home and Health for Good program- a statewide housing-first model program- the state saved over $21,000 per participant each year because the costs of providing emergency shelter and services for these individuals were drastically reduced.

 

Read the 2007 report by the state of Maine that found that "housing people who are homeless cuts the average costs of services they consume in half" and that by participating in the housing-first program, the 99 people studied saved the state $944 per person, per year. The total annual cost savings for all 99 people studied was over $93,000.

 

Watch the interview with Professor Sharon Krefetz of Clark University in which she talks about chronic homelessness being a major public health issue that has to be addressed by municipalities. 

  • How is Home Again being funded?

The development and implementation of the model project is funded by grants from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The housing for those the program is funded through subsidies and the individuals in the program, who must contribute 30 percent of their income toward their rent. Home Again has proposed a plan to create a $3 million loan fund to help cover the cost of providing very low cost housing for chronically homeless adults with little or no income.

 

Read the press release on the grant awarded to Home Again

 

Read a profile of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts CEO Jan Yost in which she talks about why the foundation funds Home Again

 

See who makes up the Home Again Steering Committee

 

See the diverse range of people from the Worcester community who make up the Home Again Advisory Council

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