Pine Street Inn

Why Are People Homeless?


There is no simple answer to this question. People who become homeless often lack access to jobs that pay a living wage; to affordable housing, and/or to health care and mental health services.
(Read More: Why Are People Homeless?)


Men's Inn guest

A National Problem

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, each night there are approximately 770,000 people in the United States who are homeless.


On an average night in 23 cities surveyed around the country,

  • 94% of people living on the streets were single adults
  • 13% were veterans
  • 13% were physically disabled
  •  26% suffered from a mental illness
  • 19% were victims of domestic violence
  • 19% of homeless people were employed


Local Solutions

The number of homeless adults in Boston had been relatively level, between 3,700-4,000 people. Over the last several years, the city of Boston has embarked on a new strategy to combat homelessness by targeting aid to those who are chronicall homeless and improving access to affordable housing.

As a result, the number of homeless individuals in Boston has decreased close to 35% over the past eight years.


Pine Street has played a significant role in that decrease, placing more than 800 men and women in permanent, supportive housing that we own or manage and helping hundreds more find other affordable housing options.


Moving someone from the streets to housing saves $9,500 per year in emergency healthcare, public safety and shelter costs. More importantly, it dramatically improves a person's quality of life. 

(Read More: Advantages of Permanent Housing)


Of the nearly 11,000 men and women Pine Street has served 2012:

  • 65% had some kind of disabling condition
  • 47% had some substance abuse problem
  • 37% had a mental health condition
  • 33% came from the streets
  • 31% had a high school diploma
  • 28% received Social Security Income
  • 42% were placed in jobs after completing an employment counseling program


What can you do to help?