Marty is passionate about ending homelessness. He believes no one should ever have to live on the streets or experience housing insecurity. As a state legislator, he was a strong ally of advocates and providers who serve the homeless. As mayor, he has created a new shelter in the heart of Boston and completely revamped the city’s system for serving the homeless. Now, instead of using temporary shelter as a long-term solution, residents experiencing homelessness receive immediate access to needed services and options for permanent, supportive housing.

In 2014, Mayor Walsh made the painful but necessary decision to close the Long Island bridge. The bridge, which has an estimated replacement cost of $80 million, had been neglected for decades and was literally falling into the harbor. Since then, the City of Boston has helped to restore every bed in every facility that was housed on Long Island. Now, instead of being out of sight and out of mind, our neighbors in need of services are closer to community supports and more connected to long-term solutions. However, when combined with other factors–such as the opioid crisis, and the fact that Boston’s services attract clients from the entire metro region–homelessness is now more visible in our city, prompting understandable concern among many. Mayor Walsh is continuing to spur the city to action as we work to secure a home for everyone.

Marty’s Record

  • Ended chronic veterans homelessness in Boston, through a collaborative effort across government agencies and nonprofit providers.
  • In all, more than 1,100 chronically homeless individuals and homeless veterans have been housed under the Mayor’s plan, representing more than 2,300 years of homelessness brought to an end.
  • Created the Southampton Street shelter, a 400-bed facility designed as a front door to social services and supportive housing.
  • Launched an Engagement Center, a safe and comfortable place for people who experience homelessness and addiction to spend time and receive services. Learn more about Marty’s work fighting addiction, here.
  • Hosted four “housing surge” sessions, in which case paperwork that can take up to several months to process is completed within hours. Almost all homeless individuals are offered a place to live and call their own by the time they leave.
  • Used technology to create an open-source platform that matches chronically homeless individuals with available housing options.
  • Increased spending by $1 million for 2017 on front door shelter triage and rapid rehousing.
  • Launched Landlord Guarantee Fund pilot to support landlords who will rent to chronically homeless individuals.
  • Hired the city’s first ever special advisor for homelessness.
  • Reformed the City’s system for serving the homeless to prioritize social services and permanent housing. Read more from Mayor Walsh and from Boston’s Housing Chief Sheila Dillon.

Marty’s Plan

  • Continue reforming the City’s shelter system, so that every guest receives comfortable accommodations and immediate connection to services and housing options.
  • Continue Boston’s progress toward a fully housing-first model, rather than using the shelter system as the solution. The work is not finished, but the City of Boston is on track to meet its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2018.