HomeStart Renew Collaborative

Every year in Massachusetts, thousands of people are evicted from their homes because they can’t pay their rent. It’s expensive for both sides, costing landlords thousands of dollars and leaving families homeless.

What if there were a way to divert the money spent on evictions and instead put it to work keeping families in their homes? That’s the big idea behind HomeStart’s Renew Collaborative, a disruptive social innovation launched with active participation from United Way. The Collaborative is a way to mobilize property managers, housing authorities, nonprofits, public and private funding to work more efficiently and bring new resources to families facing eviction.

Offering Solutions

United Way was an early investor in the Renew Collaborative when it won the 2016 IF Challenge, a social innovation prize offered by United Way and the Boston College School of Social Work looking for new approaches to reduce family homelessness in Massachusetts.

The approach was initially a pilot with the Boston Housing Authority working with tenants facing imminent eviction. As part of the program, tenants were offered short-term, intensive case management, assistance with landlord negotiations, and access to small grants to help pay down owed rent, eventually leading to long-term support to help them remain financially stable in their homes. The results were promising. HomeStart found that one-year out, 97% of families remained in their homes and four years later, 87% were still stable.


HomeStart took the positive results from the Boston Housing Authority pilot to other property managers and successfully replicated the Renew Collaborative in other types of housing, inspiring United Way to sign-on to help scale the program outside Boston, leveraging the philanthropic partnership of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Bank of America as key partners.

The Renew Collaborative is a hallmark of United Way’s approach to cross-sector problem-solving. United Way becomes a shared connection for the funders and service providers best-positioned work together on the ground in their communities and bringing successful approaches to work in new communities.

United Way welcomes the continued support of philanthropic partners, housing authorities, and private property managers to explore replication across a wider area. For more information about the Renew Collaborative, contact Sarah Bartley at