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
  • Cost of living: Massachusetts is the 7th most expensive state to live in, according to the 2014 Out of Reach Report of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
  • Gap between Housing Costs and Income: According to the 2014 Out of Reach Report of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a moderate two-bedroom apartment in Worcester and its surrounding communities is $947. At the time of this study, 56% of renters in Worcester were unable to afford this level of rent with utilities. In order to afford this cost, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, one must earn an hourly wage of $18.21, assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year. This compares to the mean renter wage in Worcester, which is only $11.83 an hour. In order to afford a moderate two-bedroom apartment in our community, a household would need to work 1.5 full-time jobs at the mean renter wage. Minimum wage workers earning $8.00 per hour would need to work 2.3 full-time jobs.
  • Homelessness is on the rise in Worcester County: In comparing the 2013 and 2014 HUD Point in Time (PIT) Count Results (the most recent available), the total number of homeless persons in Worcester County increased by 8%, from 1,657 to 1,796. Since a low in 2011, Worcester County has seen a 37% overall increase in homelessness. In 2010 - 2011, many key stimulus housing and homeless programs were enacted in response the Great Recession, decreasing homelessness despite the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression. As funding for these programs ended, Worcester County has seen a dramatic increase in homelessness. Families with children continue to count for a larger percentage of the homeless population with a 22% increase from the 2013 to 2014 PIT. 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 in the field agree that these households at least match the number living in shelter if not exceeds. On average, a family will move at five times before entering shelter, resulting in frequently school changes and hardships for children.
  • Family Homelessness across the Commonwealth: There are about 3,300 families in the state’s Emergency Shelter units, including 189 locally, with nearly an additional 1,400 families in motels as of March 17, 2015. 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.
  • Emergency Hotel Placements of Homeless Families: As of January 31, 2015, there were 1,512 families in hotels, including 2,872 children, in Emergency Hotel Placement statewide. This includes 30 families, including 57 children, in Worcester County.
  • Individual Homelessness: While the total number of homeless individuals decreased from 557 to 468 or 16% in the most recent HUD PIT, the number of unsheltered or street homeless individuals increased slightly from 45 in 2013 to 49 in 2014, or 9%. The number of chronically homeless individuals (veterans and non-veterans) continued downward with a change from 58 to 53 in 2014, a decrease of 9%. Preliminary results from the 2015 PIT indicate a slight increase in individual homelessness from the previous year.

Updated: March 2015

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