Shelters and Transitional Housing

Shelters and transitional programs in Massachusetts provide short-term housing for families and individuals who have no permanent, stable housing. Different programs allow different lengths of stay. Many shelters and transitional programs also offer support services to help residents work on issues that may be contributing to their housing instability. These may include health screening, child care services, literacy and GED programs, housing search help, job search help, counseling, and substance abuse treatment.

Types of Shelters and Transitional Programs

Family Shelters

  • Homeless families in Massachusetts can access family shelters through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Emergency Assistance (EA) program.  To apply for the program, families complete an intake process thorough their local DTA office. More information at
  • Additional guidance on accessing EA is available through the Mass Legal Services’s EA Advocacy Guide and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Rosie’s Place Guide.
  • For families who do not qualify for EA, there may be other options for shelter through programs that do not receive state funding. WATCH CDC maintains a list of non-state-funded family shelters:

Teen Parent Shelter

  • These programs offer supported housing for pregnant teens and teen parents who are not able to live at home; residents receive child care services, in addition to health care, educational support, and support for preparing to live independently.

Shelters and Transitional Programs for Homeless Youth

  • These programs provide emergency housing and supportive services to homeless and runaway youth.
  • Call the National Runaway Switchboard at 1-800-RUNAWAY to receive information on available shelter space and referral processes.

Domestic Violence Shelters

  • These shelters offer a safe space for women and children who are escaping from a situation of domestic abuse.
  • Domestic violence shelters usually allow residents to stay for up to 90 days.
  • Residents must be willing to leave their home and follow the shelter’s rules about confidentiality.
  • To get information on and apply for a domestic violence shelter, clients should call the statewide SafeLink hotline at 1-877-785-2020; the hotline staff member will discuss the client’s situation and work out a plan for getting to the shelter safely.

Individual Men/Women’s Shelter

  • These shelters for adults offer emergency shelter and meals to adults without children; supportive services are also sometimes offered.
  • Generally, these shelters do not have income limits or required documentation.

Shelter List and Contact Information

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