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Annual Boston Homeless Census Reveals 3.8% Increase

The number of homeless children increased by 4.3 percent from 1,971 to 2,056 this year.

Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo Credit: Boston Public Health Commission on Facebook.
Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo Credit: Boston Public Health Commission on Facebook.

The number of homeless in the city of Boston has increased by 3.8 percent in the last year, according to the findings of the 34th Annual Homeless Census, released by Mayor Marty Walsh Monday

City officials, community leaders and more than 350 volunteers conducted the census six weeks ago, and as a result found a 3.8 percent increase in the number of homeless men, women and children throughout the city of Boston. The census numbers show that the point-in-timer count found 7,255 homeless persons compared to 6,992 the previous year.

“These numbers are very troubling, and paint a stark picture of vulnerable populations in our city,” Walsh said in a statement. “Major cities around the country are seeing these kinds of increases, as rents go up and incomes don’t. My vision for Boston is that we want to be a City that works for all of our residents, where stable families have safe and stable housing, in stable neighborhoods. I am asking our whole community to work with me and rally around these issues.”

Below are some key findings of the census: 

  • The number of homeless people living on the streets was 180, a decrease of 6.7 percent over the total of 193 the prior year. 
  • The total number of individual homeless adults increased 3.3 percent from 3,597 last year to 3,714 this year. 
  • The number of adults in emergency shelter was up 10.5 percent from 1,367 last year to 1,511 this year. 
  • The number of homeless families in Boston increased 5.8 percent from 1,166 to 1,234 households this year. 
  • The total number of persons in families (i.e., all homeless men, women and children) increased by 4.3 percent from 3,395 to 3,541. 
  • The number of homeless children increased by 4.3 percent from 1,971 to 2,056 this year.  

The report, though, found that Boston as few homeless adults living on the streets when compared to most major cities, with the street count making up about 2.5 percent of the total homeless count. 

Walsh, who visited the Boston Public Health Commission-run shelter to meet guests and staff on Monday, called on city agencies and Boston's network of homeless service providers to help boost successful housing strategies, according to the report, and to also help continue developments with innovative approaches to respond to the rising need. 

For the full results of Boston’s 34th Annual Homeless Census, click here.

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