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​Over the past decade HomeStart has developed an economically sustainable and scalable program that prevents homelessness.  Our goal is to eliminate homelessness due to non-payment eviction for families with subsidies and the working poor in Massachusetts.  Our ultimate goal is to create a model for national replication.


The average non-payment arrearage of an evicted household is only $2,000. 

Nearly two out of three households evicted for non-payment in Boston are residents of affordable subsidized housing. An eviction often disqualifies a family from obtaining a subsidy again, and when these households are evicted, regulations forbid them from accessing the state-funded family emergency shelter system until after three years. Eviction isn't just a crisis of trauma and upheaval for the displaced family. Eviction is a creator of poverty and an incredible cost-burden for property owners and tax-payer funded social services. These are some of the most vulnerable, at-risk and low-income members of our community and they are ineligible to access our most basic social safety net.  For this reason alone, HomeStart believes that it is essential to help these households stay in their homes, out of shelter and off the street.

The Renew Collaborative:

A Radical Solution to Break the Cycle of Homelessness


Everyone deserves a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.  HomeStart’s work is premised on this belief and our mission is to end and prevent homelessness in Greater Boston.  At HomeStart, we know that a housing crisis can destabilize every part of a person’s life.  Over and over again, research has shown that destabilized housing leads to negative impacts on everything from health and access to medical care to employment and education, child nutrition and sobriety.

The Renew Collaborative is a disruptive social innovation premised on a simple and compelling fact – the cost of a property owner executing a non-payment eviction in Massachusetts is three to five times more than the expense of stopping the eviction and preserving the tenancy. Therefore, the cost-benefit of eviction prevention is so compelling that property owners can actually save money by financially supporting eviction prevention programs like HomeStart's Renew Collaborative.

“Every year in this country,

people are evicted from
their homes not by the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands but by the millions.”


(Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – 2016)

Beyond Boston

Our vision is that all of our country’s working poor or families with subsidies would be protected from eviction and homelessness when unexpected life circumstances threaten their housing stability.


HomeStart is seeking to significantly scale and expand its eviction prevention services through partnerships with property owners for per-intervention cost-reimbursement. This innovative method of program expansion is a socially disruptive, economically sustainable and scalable model that has the potential to eliminate homelessness in Massachusetts for low-income at-risk families who are residing in affordable subsidized housing.

“This program could effectively eliminate family homelessness by eviction for both

the country’s working poor and families

with subsidies.
It is novel, efficient, and most of all,

it works.”


(Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – 2016)

HomeStart has established a proof of concept and demonstrated impact within Massachusetts and our current objective is to satiate the need for eviction prevention services in Boston then Massachusetts and create a model for national replication. In parallel, HomeStart intends to pilot geographically dispersed partnerships with other social service organizations to create a model for distributing resources, providing technical assistance, and collecting data. 

More importantly, the program works.

Our short-term intensive intervention model provides case management, access to one-time rental assistance and 12 months of post-crisis stabilization services. The HomeStart intervention makes a long-term impact on an at-risk household's housing stability, and 48 months after the intervention 87% of the program participants have maintained housing stability within their BHA unit and 95% have avoided eviction due to non-payment.

The Prevention Process

Our advocates work on-on-one with low-income, at-risk households to help them stay in their homes and avoid the trauma of homelessness.

HomeStart advocates provide supportive services including

 financial stability 

In housing court, HomeStart negotiates with landlords and pays portion of bank rent

Cost Benefits

Not only does Homelessness Prevention save families from the trauma of being evicted, it saves taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.  On average it costs the state of Massachusetts $30,000 to house a family in emergency shelter or a motel for one year.  For just $2,000, HomeStart can halt the eviction, negotiate and pay a portion of back-rent owed, and provide the family with post-crisis stabilization services to help them get back on their feet and pay the rest of their debt.

Cost-Benefit of Eviction Prevention







Housing Authority Cost to Execute an Eviction

Private Landlord Cost to Execute an Eviction

HomeStart Cost to Preserve a Tenancy



The tenant and HomeStart Advocate work together to identify the factors that led to the eviction crisis and make an individualized plan to address and eliminate these barriers going forward.



HomeStart advocates negotiate directly with property owners on behalf of the tenant and accompany tenants to Housing Court, working out an agreement that will stop the eviction and preserve the tenancy. When an agreement has been reached to preserve the tenancy, HomeStart makes a payment directly to the property owner toward the back rent owed. The tenant will typically repay the balance of the rental arrearage within 8-12 months.



After the initial crisis has been resolved, HomeStart stays in touch with the tenant for 12 months, with check-in calls at regular intervals and provides information and referrals to other community resources.