Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

aka MHSA   |   Boston, MA   |


The mission of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) is to end homelessness in Massachusetts through permanent housing combined with outcome-based service programs. MHSA is dedicated to innovative solutions that reduce public reliance on costly and ineffective emergency resources, and that bring our poorest and most disabled neighbors home for good.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Mr. Joe Hoffman

Main address

PO Box 8638

Boston, MA 02114 USA

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Formerly known as

Greater Boston Housing and Shelter Alliance

Greater Boston Shelter Alliance



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (L01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Home & Healthy for Good

Home & Healthy for Good (HHG) is the Commonwealth's first statewide, low-threshold Housing First initiative which has provided permanent supportive housing to nearly 1,000 chronically homeless individuals across Massachusetts since it began in 2006. The Housing First model represents a paradigm shift in the way chronic homelessness is addressed. In following this service delivery model, HHG provides formerly homeless individuals with the services they need while fostering independence and encouraging the long-term sustainability of their tenancies. HHG is administered through subcontracts with 18 agencies across Massachusetts and is funded through a Department of Housing and Community Development line item in the state budget, in combination with other leveraged resources.

Population(s) Served

The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Rapid Re-Housing program is designed to help individuals or families experiencing homelessness move as quickly as possible into independent housing through a combination of rental assistance and supportive services. The program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and administered by the Massachusetts Housing &Shelter Alliance. MHSA member agency HomeStart partners with area shelters and service providers such as the Boston Public Health Commission, St. Francis House and Pine Street Inn to identify and provide ongoing supportive services to ESG Rapid Re-housing clients in order to maintain stable housing. MHSA has identified rapid re-housing as a critical component in the long-term plan to end homelessness.

Population(s) Served

Home Front is a low-threshold, permanent supportive housing program that serves chronically homeless veterans with the highest barriers to housing. The program is funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and jointly administered by the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development and MHSA. MHSA member agency New England Center for Homeless Veterans provides wraparound community-based supportive services for individuals who are housed through the program. The program is integrated into the City of Boston's coordinated entry system for homeless veterans, whereby the most vulnerable homeless veterans in the city are given priority access to program openings. Current participants were homeless for an average of five years prior to entering the program.

Population(s) Served

MHSA established the Massachusetts Faces of Homelessness Speakers' Bureau in 2010, in partnership with the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Speakers' Bureau is comprised of currently and formerly homeless individuals who are passionate about sharing their life stories and educating the public about solutions to homelessness. Speakers and facilitators hold presentations at schools, faith communities, civic organizations, and other community groups, drawing on the firsthand experiences of the speakers and MHSA's years of programmatic and policy expertise, to engage new partners across Massachusetts in the mission of ending homelessness. The Speakers' Bureau has presented to more than 20,000 community members across Massachusetts and New England. In 2013, MHSA began the Leadership Development Program (LDP), training speakers and other individuals who have experienced homelessness to meaningfully and confidently share their experiences as a way to advocate for the investment of local, state and federal resources in solutions to homelessness.

Population(s) Served

In December 2014, MHSA and its partners, Corporation for Supportive Housing and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, signed a Social Innovation Financing contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to institute the first "Pay for Success" initiative to address chronic homelessness. Through this initiative, MHSA will provide housing with supportive services for up to 800 homeless individuals across the Commonwealth. This outcome-based program will be evaluated rigorously in order to clearly demonstrate that this model is a cost-effective solution to homelessness for the most disabled segment of the homeless population. PFS represents the most coordinated approach to homelessness that MHSA has seen in Massachusetts. Additionally, MHSA has used the PFS initiative as an opportunity to focus on the integration of health care and housing. MHSA has been working with Managed Care Entities across the Commonwealth to bring them into the PFS initiative, and MHSA is thrilled to report that PFS providers will be able to receive Medicaid reimbursement for the critical services they provide to participants of the program.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Better Government Competition 2010

Pioneer Institute

Social Innovation Forum 2010

Root Cause

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Through strategic partnerships formed with government, private philanthropy, business leaders, homeless individuals, and service providers, MHSA works to fulfill our mission of ending homelessness permanently in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

MHSA's advocacy and innovative program development are focused on transforming the traditional emergency response to homelessness to a system that focuses on long-term solutions. Rather than leaving people to live in shelters or on the streets for months or even years, our goal is to help create an effective system that prioritizes quickly moving people back into housing with access to the appropriate supportive services. Critical components of this new system would include triage and assessment, short-term shelter, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing. Through this strategy, MHSA believes our goal of ending homelessness in Massachusetts is attainable.

Established in 1988 by Greater Boston service providers and citizens looking to create a coordinated strategy to end homelessness, MHSA started as a planning and service coalition, serving as an intermediary between the public and nonprofit sectors with one mission: ending homelessness in the Massachusetts. Since then, MHSA has expanded its network statewide to partner with nearly 100 community-based member agencies that serve homeless individuals and families in every region of Massachusetts. Since its founding, MHSA and its members have worked closely with the Commonwealth to shift the state's response to homelessness from an emphasis on emergency resources toward a focus on permanent housing solutions and appropriate services.

MHSA uses evidence-based best practices and rigorous evaluation as the basis of its assertion that providing housing with appropriate supportive services, rather than temporary shelter or emergency services is in the best interest of those who experience homelessness, government and society. Using our unique position as an intermediary between public agencies and homeless service providers, MHSA incubates innovative responses to homelessness. At its core, we educate about the challenges homeless individuals face and solutions to their homelessness; advocate for strategic use of public and private funding based on research and best practices; innovate cost-effective solutions to homelessness; and collaborate with all levels of government and the private sector to bring our poorest and most vulnerable neighbors—homeless individuals—home for good.

MHSA has yet to bring chronic homelessness to functional zero and to end homelessness for all people. Through rigorous program evaluation and research, we have determined how many new housing opportunities we must create for those who are suffering from chronic homelessness so that they can enter into permanent homes of their own. MHSA works tirelessly with our members as well as public and private partners to work towards creating more affordable housing opportunities for those who need it most: homeless individuals and families.


Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

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Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

Board of directors
as of 10/01/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Thomas Collins

Collins Strategies

Term: 2016 -

James O'Connell

Boston Health Care for Homeless Program

James Sabitus

Row One Brands

Linda Wood-Boyle

Former President & CEO of HomeStart

John Samaan

Boston Rescue Mission

Anna Bissonnette


Pamela Feingold

Eastern Bank

Thomas Collins

Avision Young

Lyndia Downey

Pine Street Inn

Dean Atkins

NorthBridge CRE Advisors

Kiley Gosselin

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Donald Greene

U.S. Trust

William Beckeman

Linear Retail Properties, LLC

John Deneen

Office of the State Auditor

Emily Kowtoniuk

ADS Ventures

Brian Newkirk

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Paul Sullivan

Massachusetts Faces of Homelessness Speakers' Bureau, MHSA

Brian Sykes

Capitol One Multifamily Finance

René Brimage

Health Care Resource Center

Ben Josephson

O’Neill and Associates

James Shea

Greenberg Traurig

Singumbe Muyeba, PhD

University of Denver

Robin Callahan

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes