Ending Homelessness

At United Way, we believe all individuals and families should have safe, stable homes and the resources to keep them long term.

On any given night in Massachusetts, more than 3,700 families are experiencing homelessness. That’s more than 13,000 individuals, 60% of whom are children.  

The effects of homelessness are devastating for families. Children without homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade, four times as likely to develop asthma and other health issues, and are at a 52% higher risk for developmental delays. For parents, jobs can be hard to come by and harder to keep, putting the dream of security further out of reach.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Our Solution

Rising housing costs, mental health issues, substance misuse, and a host of other factors contribute to the increasing homelessness rate in our community. Our solution brings together nonprofits that address each of these issues as part of the complex whole. We fund programs that are working effectively, and we create and pilot new solutions where we see gaps. Our goals are:

  • Stabilizing families in safe, affordable housing and providing long-term support so they can weather future emergencies.
  • Investing in and piloting innovative new programs that can be rolled out state-wide.
  • Scaling school-community partnerships that prevent homelessness, reduce disruptive school moves, help families develop financial well-being, and help vulnerable students attend school regularly.

Our Partners

We work with 77 strategic partner agencies in 142 communities to end family homelessness. Our partners include:

  • HomeStart
  • The Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development
  • The Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
  • Children’s Health Watch
  • Project Hope

View all our agency partners

How We're Doing So Far:

United Way's annual investment in Ending Homelessness
Families in crisis who avoided homelessness last year
Chronically homeless individuals placed in safe supportive housing through our Pay for Success partnership

Strategic Initiatives

We bring together partners to pilot innovative solutions that target entrenched problems, address gaps in services, and scale best practices.

Homestart renew collaborative

The Renew Collaborative is a disruptive social innovation working to eliminate eviction as a cause of homelessness. Launched by HomeStart with support from United Way, the Collaborative mobilizes resources to help at-risk tenants avoid eviction, repay rent, communicate with landlords, and achieve stable, long-term finances.  Learn more»

Pay for Success

The Pay for Success program aims to make better use of public resources to help people move into permanent, supportive housing. Since 2015, the program has housed more than 700 chronically homeless individuals and is on track to save the Commonwealth approximately $13,000 per tenant annually. Learn more»

Project RISE

United Way connects public schools and nonprofits in Lynn, MA to identify families at risk of homelessness. Focused on supporting both parents and children, Project RISE helps prevent homelessness, keep kids in the school, and allows families to work toward their health, educational, and financial goals. Learn more»



Be a hero for families in transition
At Project Connect, our entire community comes together in support of families in transition, providing them with everything from job fairs and other professional help to healthcare advice and services, back-to-school supplies, and financial check-ups, among many other resources. Event occurs in Boston annually in July. Learn more»

Community Investment Tax Credit

Build a stronger community
Through the Community Investment Tax Credit, United Way donors help create high-impact community projects, including the creation of hundreds of affordable housing units to providing thousands of citizens with financial coaching. Donors also receive a nice tax break, and their support provides vital economic development resources to the region. Learn more»

Mind the Gap

A tribute fund to end homelessness
Honor the legacy of United Way CEO Mike Durkin by contributing a special gift  targeted at efforts to end homelessness, an urgent social issue which has been at the center of Mike’s efforts during the 43 years he has dedicated to the United Way. Learn more»

Make A Financial Impact

Ensures two families can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.

Helps one family avoid a financial emergency and meet their basic needs.

Provides twelve families with emergency heating assistance during the winter.

Provides emergency support that prevents two families from being evicted.