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The City of Boston’s Boston’s Way Home, in partnership with MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) and MassHealth, hosted a “housing surge” on June 15, designed to connect chronically homeless older adults with housing while qualifying them for services and support.  This unique partnership between the city and state was designed to end chronic homelessness  in the older adult population.  A team of more than a dozen staff from EOEA, OLTSS and MassHealth participated in the “housing surge” event to facilitate pairing people with housing and services. A total of 64 older adults experiencing homelessness attended the “housing surge.” Of the 64 people who attended, 59 were connected to housing at the event.

In preparation for the event, city, state, and non-profit partners worked together to identify older adults who have been chronically homeless and then significant outreach at shelters and throughout the city to spread awareness of this opportunity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines chronically homeless individuals as adults with a disability who have been either living in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation continuously for 12 months or more, or who have had four occasions of homelessness in the past three years that total 12 months or more.

On the day of the surge, the consumers began arriving at 5:30 a.m. and were able to meet with representatives from state programs including Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE); OneCare, Senior Care Options (SCO); and Community Supports for Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH) to determine their eligibility and interest in these programs.

As a result of this “housing surge” initiative: 

62 people left connected to services:

    • Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) – 18
    • OneCare – 9
    • Senior Care Options(SCO) – 5
    • CSPECH – 28
    • HomeStart – 2


MassHealth Enrollment saw 14 people:

    • 6 re-enrolled in MassHealth
    • 6 upgraded coverage

This innovative and collaborative partnership was an impactful way to deliver on the EOEA vision of helping older adults gain access to the resources they need to live well and thrive in the community. Secretary Alice Bonner explains “This is an extraordinary example of how partnership across state and city agencies can help us make tangible progress on ending elder homelessness. Coordinating efforts to obtain both housing and services for older adults will enable more people to live independently in their own communities.”

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