HomeBASE (Building Alternatives to Shelter) is a new Massachusetts state program that provides permanent housing to homeless families. The state Department of Housing and Community Development is responsible for initiating the HomeBASE program in August of 2011.
In order to be eligible for the program, families either be homeless already or have a situation where they will become homeless in the near future. In addition, families must earn thirty percent or less of the median income for their city. For Boston, the maximum income limit is $29,800.
A social worker is assigned to the family to determine the level of assistance needed. HomeBASE works to locate the temporary or permanent housing and also provides rental and household assistance up to a maximum of $4,000 per month. The level of assistance needed is monitored over time. The maximum time that a family can obtain assistance through the HomeBASE program is three years. Inquiries should be made at local welfare offices to determine eligibility for the program. Already nearly one hundred families have been helped through the program, either in placement in low-cost housing or in temporary shelter in apartments which is a more economical than a motel for stays of a few weeks. Current statistics reveal that in September, 2011 there were 1,465 homeless Massachusetts families living in motels. In August, 2011 that number was 1,778. Although the state has contracts with over 35 motels in the Boston area to provide temporary housing, the cost to the state is higher than finding a lower cost alternative using the HomeBASE program.