Community Service Center

Homelessness + Housing


Homelessness is a condition that has no boundaries. It can affect the young, the old, the educated, those who have experienced poverty for years, and those who never have. However, when one thinks of a homeless individual, a common image is a bum, a veteran, an older man living on the streets asking for change. In reality, there is a large sector of the homeless population that we never see. The “Hidden Homeless” are families who bounce around from house to house, live in temporary shelters, and do everything possible to conceal their condition from the world. In Massachusetts alone, the number of family households experiencing homelessness increased by 11.3% in the past year. In May 2014, there were approximately 4,600 families with children and pregnant women living in MA Emergency Assistance shelters. Our goal for FYSOP 25 is to create more awareness about the “Hidden Homeless” and to generate an understanding of the systemic issues that continue to contribute to the increase of families experiencing homelessness.

By definition, “shelter” is a basic necessity. It constitutes four walls, a floor, and a roof. However, “shelter” is not necessarily synonymous with a “home.” A healthy living environment is just as integral as the presence of physical housing. We hope to stress that many families and children who are homeless do not lose their homes in a sudden shift; rather many do not have homes (by our definition) to begin with.

We will provide our staff and volunteers with opportunities to: