Boston hidden homeless – Does Pres. Biden have a plan?

  • Over half a million Americans were unhoused in 2020.
  • Despite the rising budget, overall homelessness in the U.S. has improved by only 10% compared with 2007.
  • For decades, the U.S. has relied on a “housing first” approach to homelessness, where permanent housing is provided for homeless people without preconditions.
  • Some critics argue that housing first hasn’t done much to solve the crisis.

The Covid pandemic caused a surge in housing costs and a rise in unemployment, leaving nearly 600,000 Americans unhoused in 2020.

“What people don’t typically realize when they walk past a person who’s homeless is that this person is costing taxpayers a lot of money,” said Sam Tsemberis, chief executive officer at Pathways Housing First Institute.

In 2019, New York City spent a record-breaking $3 billion to support its homeless population. California is also expected to break its record, allocating $4.8 billion to the same issue over the next two years.

Despite the rising budget, overall homelessness in the U.S. has improved by only 10% compared with 2007. It’s even worse for certain subgroups, such as individual homelessness, which dropped by only 1% in the same period.

“Right now, we are trending in the wrong direction,” said Anthony Love, interim executive director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The state of homelessness is pretty tenuous, and there are some small increases that are taking place across the board.”

For decades, the U.S. has relied on a “housing first” approach to homelessness, where permanent housing is provided for homeless people without preconditions such as sobriety or employment.

“Without the coach to guide me into housing, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now,” said Shannon McGhee, who moved into his supportive housing in 2020 after being unhoused for four years. “Being able to have my housing first, I know that I’m in control of my environment. Now, what happens here is all about what I create.”

However, some critics of the housing first approach say it hasn’t shown enough real results to deem it successful.

“When the public is told that this particular policy is going to end homelessness, what they’re expecting is that they’re going to see fewer homeless people around,” said Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “I don’t think that we’ve seen that in the case of housing first.”

Boston Real Estate 


After years of fighting with former President Donald Trump’s administration, national homelessness advocates are, for the first time in a while, feeling hopeful.

Yes, it seems there are more people out on the streets than ever, and homelessness numbers show no signs of decreasing — in fact, if you walk in downtown Boston I fear it could get worse if nothing is done.

President Biden Boston and Boston Real Estate

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden extended the CDC’s eviction moratorium through March, but that will only delay what experts say could be a wave of eviction-driven homelessness — with potentially thousands in downtown Boston and hundreds of thousands across the country in coming years living in their cars, couch-surfing or on the streets.

Boston Rent Vouches

The Biden administration has a plan for housing and homelessness that is extraordinarily aggressive, putting billions into rent vouchers and construction, attacking restrictive zoning, and committing to making housing a human right.

But downtown Boston has a distinct set of problems: a lack of cheap housing, a messy homelessness response system, and disappearing mental health facilities. The Biden plan to take a swing at the problem could miss some of these plans

Housing for all?

In one of the biggest changes, Biden wants to make housing assistance an entitlement, like food assistance, for the first time in the history of America. That would mean anyone who qualifies for housing assistance would get it. This would potentially quadruple the number of people receiving benefits from programs like Section 8 in Boston

It would take a huge infusion of resources, but with Democrats running the White House and both chambers of Congress, these goals are potentially achievable/

But in downtown Boston, there are already people with federal vouchers in hand who can’t find a place in their price range that will rent to them.

Biden’s plan might address that concern with $640 billion proposed for rent vouchers, eviction help and affordable housing construction. It also introduces a plan to use incentives to persuade cities to do away with restrictive zoning rules that limit how much cheap housing can be built.

A “hollowed-out” housing department

To do anything about homelessness, Biden will have to rehabilitate the department that would carry out these sweeping changes — Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Advocates and researchers, as well as media reports, describe HUD as a “hollowed-out” place with many unfilled vacancies after four years under Trump’s secretary, Dr. Ben Carson.

Drug treatment, employment minimized

While housing costs are the main cause of the Boston homelessness crisis — and that housing must be secured before people can work on their mental health or substance use — the other side of that is how much money people make.

In Boston, the lowest earners haven’t been able to afford the cheapest housing for some time; Biden has said he wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $15, but that was done in most sectors of Boston, and housing still remains out of reach for thousands.

Biden’s plans for responding to the drug epidemic have a smaller price tag — $125 billion to make treatment available to everyone who needs it. This is a departure from the Trump administration’s latest guidance for homelessness and housing policy, which pivoted toward drug and alcohol treatment and “tough love” crime strategies.

It’s all about  Boston Jobs

Employment will be key if the federal government wants to head off ripple effects of the pandemic recession, which could put more than 600,000 people nationwide on the streets or couch-surfing by 2023, according to Daniel Flaming, president of Economic Roundtable, an L.A.-based research group.

Biden has said he wants to expand income tax credits for low-wage workers and create a Public Health Jobs Corp of at least 100,000

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

The bottom line, whether you’re a Boston Democrat or Republican we need to address the issues of Boston homelessness because it’s not going away and its seems to be getting worse.

Boston Real Estate