Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced further measures Monday to help protect homeless and at-risk families during the city's coronavirus public health emergency.
Walsh said the Boston Housing Authority and Boston Public Schools are creating a new partnership that will help house 1,000 families with BPS students who are either at risk of displacement or are experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Boston Housing Authority will house up to 500 families living in shelters through the state's Leading the Way Home program, a partnership between the BHA and the state network of family shelters in which the BHA issues vouchers to displaced Boston families living in shelters.
The other 500 rental vouchers will be provided to families who are in precarious situations that lack necessary stability or could easily lead to displacement. These families will be served through a direct partnership between the BHA and BPS, in an effort to reach out to the unsheltered homeless population with children enrolled in Boston's schools.
The rental vouchers can be used in the private market to ensure the homeless and at-risk families have a place to live. The first housing placements are expected to begin in May.
"We know anxiety about housing goes beyond monthly payments. Many families have been struggling to find or hold onto housing, before this public health crisis even began," Walsh said in a statement. "Homelessness creates barriers for our students to grow, learn and succeed, and schools being closed presents even more challenges for families experiencing housing insecurity. These vouchers ... will support our students in critical ways and help us get closer to our goal of ending homelessness in Boston."