While unemployment rocked Massachusetts, housing costs remained at record levels, and the federal government continued its inattention to housing and human service programs, the numbers of homeless families sheltered by the commonwealth of Massachusetts declined. This article examines the changes over the last decade in the way Massachusetts provides shelter to homeless families. What has in fact changed for homeless families, Marsh contends, is whether the state of Massachusetts considers them homeless. An increasingly complicated and burdensome set of rules has become a highly effective gatekeeper that keeps the commonwealth's shelter expenditures down and homeless families out.



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