Speakers Bureau

CMHA works with those who have directly experienced homelessness or been impacted by the lack of affordable housing and related issues of poverty in our community. Read more.

Homelessness in Worcester County PDF Print

Massachusetts is the 6th most expensive state to live in, according to the 2017 Out of Reach Report of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIC), moving up one spot. Massachusetts has consistently been in the top 10 for over ten years.

Gap between Housing Costs and Income: According to the 2017 Out of Reach, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a moderate two-bedroom apartment in Worcester and its surrounding communities is $1,060. At the time of this study, over 50% of renters in the Worcester area were unable to afford this level of rent in addition to utilities. In order to afford this cost, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, one must earn an hourly wage of $20.38, assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year. This compares to the mean renter wage in Worcester, which is only $13.03/hour. In order to afford a moderate two-bedroom apartment in our community, a household would need to work 1.7 full-time jobs at the mean renter wage. Minimum wage workers earning $11.00 per hour would need to work 1.9 full-time jobs.

Homelessness Trends in Worcester County: Comparing the 2016 and 2017 HUD Point in Time (PIT) Count Results (the most recent available), the total number of homeless persons in Worcester County decreased by 4%, from 1,572 to 1,507. This is the third consecutive year that Worcester County has experienced a decrease in the overall number of homeless persons. This decrease is once again attributable to a drop in the number of persons in homeless families.

Families with children continue to account for the largest percentage of homeless persons in Worcester County at 61%. This includes 561 children under the age of 18. Fortunately, the number of homeless family households decreased by 9% and the number of homeless persons in families decreased by 12%. This count does not include those moving from one temporary location to another or living doubled-up because they lack a home of their own. It is very difficult to accurately count this population as they are living in very unstable situations. Experts agree that these households at least match, if not exceed, the number living in shelter. On average, a family will move about five times before entering shelter, resulting in frequent school changes and hardships for children.

There are about 3,500 families in the state’s Emergency Shelter units across Massachusetts, including 173 managed by CMHA, with nearly an additional 46 families in motels as of March 2018. This number does not include the number of families who do not qualify for Emergency Assistance who are staying in non-EA community shelters throughout the State.

The total number of homeless individuals increased nearly 10% from 528 to 581 in the most recent PIT Count, the third consecutive increase. The number of unsheltered or street homeless individuals significantly increased 97% to 130 from 76. The number of chronically homeless individuals (veterans and non-veterans) increased 46%, or 60 from 41. Again this count does not included those who are living in unstable situations or couch surfing without a place to call their own.

Updated: June 2018

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, email Danielle or contact her by phone at 774-243-3810.

WALK photography by Joe Santa Maria - Kill the Ball Media