Homelessness is on the rise. Not just here, but everywhere. For the first time since counting began, the number of individuals sleeping outside is greater than the number using shelter beds. Nearly 18,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts on any given night, and more than 1200 of those are outside – and that’s just those we could count.
Working with our partners, The Greater Lowell Community Foundation, The Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Lowell Plan, we are committed to working with our community leaders and developers to create 300 low threshold units of housing to help alleviate homelessness in Greater Lowell.
What We Know
Housing is healthcare
The lack of affordable housing for people in need of it is nothing short of a public health crisis. Individuals experiencing homelessness are twice as likely to have a disability as the general population, and the burden for that care falls squarely on our overtaxed emergency rooms and community health centers. Simply put, homelessness is costing us millions, and it doesn’t have to. Healthcare costs far less when people are housed.
Housing is how we end homelessness
More than any other factor – mental illness, addiction, incarceration or eviction – the drastic increase in housing costs and the lack of available housing is the biggest driver of homelessness. Nationally, only 37 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renters.
In Lowell, more than a fifth of the city lives below the poverty line, leaving them at high risk for experiencing homelessness, and more than half are “rent burdened” – paying more than 30% of their income for rent. As long as housing is out of reach, the crisis of homelessness will continue.