What is the difference between shelter, transitional, and permanent housing?

Shelter is meant to be an emergency short-term housing solution. Transitional housing refers to a supportive – yet temporary – type of accommodation that is designed to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. Permanent housing (whether supportive or not) is long-term housing with no end date.

Who are Heading Home clients?

During the fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) Heading Home directly supported 1,472 people ranging from infants to the elderly. Homelessness takes many forms; our housing and case management responds to both families and single individuals in Greater Boston.

Family Shelter and Housing Programs Demographics in FY21:

  • Ethnicity: 46% of families self-identified as Hispanic/Latinx and 54% as non-Hispanic/Latinx
  • Race: 62% of families identified as Black/African American, 32% White, 1% Asian
  • Gender: when looking at both parents and children, 62% identified as female and 38% as male
  • Age: The average age of a child in our programs was 9 years old. The average age of an adult was 35 years old.

Individual Permanent Supportive Housing Programs Demographics in FY21:

  • Ethnicity: 15% of individuals self-identified as Hispanic/Latinx, and 85% as non-Hispanic/Latinx
  • Race: 34% identified as Black/African American, 61% White, 3% Asian
  • Gender: 59% of individuals identified as male, while 41% as female
  • Age: The average age of an adult in our individual services program was 53 years old.

How many employees does Heading Home have?

We have approximately 110 full- and part-time employees working at Heading Home in various houses and at our administrative offices.

Does Heading Home accept donations of clothing, furniture, and household items?

We are unable to accept used donations including furniture at this time. For any questions related to in-kind support, please e-mail development@headinghomeinc.org.  

What is Heading Home's operating budget and how is Heading Home funded?

Heading Home’s annual operating budget is approximately $17 million. We are funded by individuals, foundations, corporations, city, state, and federal governments.

What contributes to homelessness?

Individuals or families with children may be homeless for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is the lack of housing, particularly affordable housing. Conditions in the current housing market are having a substantial negative impact on families living on limited or fixed incomes. Low-income renters are increasingly facing evictions or extreme rent increases. Over the years, gentrification in many urban areas has created a paradigm of rental unit conversions to condominium ownership, forcing many long-time tenants out of their homes.


Various complex conditions and circumstances may also exist that create barriers to permanent housing which might include mental illness, addiction, disability, or a history of violence. When trauma is experienced, the executive functioning needed to plan, problem-solve, and prioritize is often interrupted.