Housing in Massachusetts
What does it mean for a community to have housing that helps people to thrive? It means that people have access to safe, affordable, quality housing that meets their needs. It means that policies and systems are in place so that everyone is able to have access to a good home that supports their mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being. It means that homes promote health and do not predispose someone to illness. Housing is related to both health outcomes and health care costs.
What percent of homeless people are sheltered in Massachusetts?
What this measures: The percent of the homelessness population who are staying in a shelter on a given day. This includes emergency shelters, transitional housing, or safe havens.
Why this matters: This rate can help a community understand how much more permanent housing is needed. Along with other measures, this measure can help a community manage its demand.
What this relates to: Health, housing, cost, social services.
Data source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. The data reflects point-in-time estimates based on a count performed in January 2018. The sheltered homeless rate is the total sheltered homeless population divided by the total homeless population.
What percent of housing units have suboptimal conditions in Massachusetts?
What this measures: The percentage of households that live in poor quality and/or unaffordable housing. Do they lack complete plumbing? A complete kitchen? Do they pay 30 percent or more of their income for their housing? Do they have more than 1 person per room?
Why this matters: Access to safe, affordable, dignified housing improves people's well-being. Adequate housing can protect individuals and families from harmful exposures. It can provide them with a sense of privacy, safety, stability, and control. Poor quality housing contributes to health problems such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, injuries, and poor childhood development.
What this relates to: Well-being, equity, health, financial security.
Data source: Data were collected from the American Community Survey, table B25123. To calculate the number of substandard units, all units with one or more conditions for both owner and renter occupied units were added together. The percent of substandard units is calculated as this total divided by the sum of all owner occupied and all renter occupied units.
What percent of household units are cost-burdened in Massachusetts?
What this measures: The percentage of households that spend 30% or more of their income on housing. Note that this measure is broader than the condition in suboptimal housing above. This measure also includes households with zero or negative income.
Why this matters: This is a measure of housing affordability. People who spend 30% or more of their income on housing are often financially insecure. They may have difficulty coping with unexpected expenses or saving for the future. They may have fewer resources for health care, utilities, healthy food, and transportation. The stress of high housing costs has been linked with anxiety and depression.
What this relates to: Equity, financial security, health.
Data source: Percentages were calculated based on data from the American Community Survey, Table B25106. The calculation sums all housing units where housing costs comprise 30% or more of the occupants' household income, and also sums households with zero or negative income. This sum is then divided by the total number of occupied housing units to yield a percentage. For owner-occupied housing units, the costs are monthly owner costs; for renter-occupied units, the costs are gross rent.
Other Interesting Measures
• H+T affordability index (housing + transportation) (0%-100%). Source: Center for Neighborhood Technology.
• 30-day placement rate into permanent supportive housing. Source: HUD.