Paint by number : a picture of homelessness in the City of Boston
Author(s)Woluchem, Maia(Maia Sophie)
Picture of homelessness in the City of Boston
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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Each year, several hundred individuals fall into homelessness in the City of Boston. Many turn to a web of agencies for shelter, housing, and services, which belong to a network of HUD-funded providers called the Continuum of Care. Since 2012, HUD has mandated a policy of coordinated entry across its Continuum of Care providers, encouraging each to prioritize the network's limited housing and financial resources as one network, rather than as individual agencies. The City of Boston has created a robust technological infrastructure to facilitate this process, relying on a data-driven prioritization and matching engine called the Coordinated Access System (CAS) that matches individuals to housing opportunities throughout the city. CAS has been a tremendous organizational achievement in Boston and led to over 700 successful housing matches for individuals who had been homeless for decades. However, this same system has fundamentally changed the work of service providers, housing navigators, and agencies throughout the city and frayed some of the highly sensitive trust-based relationships those providers have with their clients. Data-driven coordinated entry has also aggravated fears among some critics, who worry about the long-range implications of inviting data and technology into the management of highly vulnerable communities. Through a series of interviews, this study reveals the nuances of coordinated entry to discover its effect on the agencies and homeless individuals within Boston's Continuum of Care. I contextualize coordinated entry within modern discourse around privacy, surveillance and agency of marginalized communities, offering a closer look at both the opportunities and the unseen risks of applying rigid technical processes to complex social problems.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-98).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.