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Homeless Set Aside Interest List Policy & Procedure



HomeStart manages the Homeless Set Aside Program for the City of Boston. Properties that are participants of this program must set aside 10% of their units for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. This interest list is only for households with children. Individuals experiencing homelessness in need to have a Pathways assessment completed. Boston shelter agencies, Boston street outreach and St. Francis House can complete a Pathways assessment with an individual experiencing homelessness in Boston. 




To be eligible for the Homeless Set Aside program, households must meet the definition of homelessness/displaced as defined below. Households must also meet certain income thresholds based on current Area Median Income (AMI) limits. Current AMI limits can be found here. All households must be homeless in the City of Boston or displaced from Boston. Households who are homeless outside of Boston, or who were not a resident of Boston immediately prior to being homeless, are not eligible for the Homeless Set Aside program.


Only households with children should complete the interest list. Individuals experiencing homelessness in Boston should complete a Pathways assessment. If the client is staying in shelter or has contact with street outreach, they can complete the Pathways Assessment. St. Francis House can complete the Pathways assessment for individuals homeless in Boston who aren’t connected to a shelter or street outreach team. 


Homelessness/Displaced Definition:

The applicant must be homeless and/or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence. Households will receive a preference if they are homeless in Boston (this applies to individuals and families) or displaced from Boston . In other words, households must meet definition (A.1) or definition (A.2). Households who meet definition (3) will be ranked higher on the interest list.

EITHER  Literally Homeless includes any individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:

  1. Has a primary residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; 

  2. Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living arrangements (including congregate shelters, transitional housing, and hotels and motels paid for by charitable organizations or by federal, state and local government programs); 


  1. Is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution

  1. Fleeing/Attempting to Flee Domestic Violence includes any individual or family who:

    1. Is fleeing, or is attempting to flee, domestic violence; 

    2. Has no other residence; 


  1. Lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

  1. Residing in Boston, as defined by any individual or family who:

    1. Is currently Literally Homeless (defined in section A.1) in Boston; OR

    2. Has been displaced from Boston due to lack of emergency shelter capacity or because fleeing domestic violence (the displaced preference is only available to families)

Once an initial submission has been made, applicants can update their submission every 90 days to add updated contact information and additional homeless days. Additional homeless days can be added two ways: 1. By completing the interest form again (to be used for households with children) or 2. Completing a new Pathways assessment (to be used for all other households).  To remain on the list, a new submission must be submitted at least once annually. If a new form is not completed annually, the household will be removed from the Homeless Set Aside interest list. 

The Homeless Set Aside Administrator will evaluate the list on a quarterly basis and reach out to the case manager for any client who is close to reaching the one year mark of their initial submission if no updates have occurred in that time period. 


The City of Boston’s Coordinated Entry Team will use the City’s Coordinated Access System (CAS) to manage vacancies in the Homeless Set Aside program. When there is a vacancy in a Homeless Set Aside unit, applicants from the interest list will be ranked according to days homeless, placing those with the most days in the last three years (maximum of 1,096 days) at the top of the priority list*. This includes nights spent in emergency shelter, unsheltered, and transitional housing in Boston.

The Homeless Set Aside Administrator  will reach out to the case manager who completed the form to see if the household is still eligible and request documentation verifying the household's homelessness. Required documentation can be found at the following links - homelessness verification and verification of fleeing domestic violence.  There will be a 7 business day deadline to submit this documentation to the coordinator, at which time the coordinator will move on to the next applicant. 

The Homeless Set Aside Administrator will match applicants to units based on the selected preferences in the submission form (e.g.unit size, accessibility). 


The interest form must be completed by shelter staff, a case manager, or a housing support person. The interest form can be found here and also at the "INTEREST FORM" button below. If you are a household who is not working with someone on housing search/case management, please email, and HomeStart will assist you with identifying someone who can help you complete the form. 

*Some units in the Homeless Set Aside portfolio are subject to a different matching process due to the subsidy/funding attached to the unit and applicants will come from a different entity other than the Coordinated Entry Team.

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