Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



This document summarizes key findings from a survey conducted on March 19, 1997 with 338 homeless individuals and 94 families sheltered or served by 33 of 40 shelter programs in the City of Boston. The data presented in this report were collected at one point in time. Point in time data results in an overrepresentation of the "longer term" homeless, and offers limited insight regarding the structural dynamics underlying movement from homelessness to residential stability (Culhane, Lee, Wachter, 1996; White, 1996). However, it does provide a snapshot of the men, women, and children who were spending the night in a Boston shelter in March 1997.

This research was planned to include all of the programs serving homeless adults and families in the City of Boston, with an emphasis on those providing emergency shelter. The programs serving homeless individuals who participated in the study included 13 emergency shelters and three transitional programs, with a combined capacity to serve over 2100 individuals on any given night.

The programs serving homeless families who participated in the study included: eight congregate family shelters; four scattered site shelters; four programs serving women and families escaping domestic violence; and one specialized assessment/intake center. These programs have a combined capacity to serve over 240 heads of households and their children (over 1000 family members) on any given night.



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