In Boston, an Approach to Housing That Avoids Eviction (Boston Housing Authority)

Date Published: 
January 12th, 2022

From Yes! Magazine:

Tenants’ rights attorney Jay Rose spent four-plus decades waging legal battles on behalf of poor folks. So taking a job as a legal consultant for the nation’s largest for-profit affordable housing landlord might seem an odd choice. But executives at Boston-based WinnCompanies—which manages approximately $14 billion worth of largely affordable and military housing in 550 developments across 22 states—recently learned an unpleasant fact and knew the organization needed help from someone like Rose.

In 2018, WinnCompanies and other large Boston-area property managers were invited to join a newly formed Eviction Prevention Task Force, run by the Office of Housing Stability within Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development. The group used company-provided information from 2015 through 2017 and data from the local housing court system to determine which landlords were doing the most evicting.

WinnCompanies learned it was the largest landlord in the city of Boston, and “we were also responsible for a fairly high rate of evictions in the city, and that’s not something we expected,” says Trevor Samios, senior vice president of Connected Communities, WinnCompanies’ resident services department. “It wasn’t a list we wanted to be on.”


WinnCompanies isn’t the only housing organization in the Boston area looking for ways to realize the economic benefits of keeping tenants instead of kicking them out. Matt Pritchard, executive director of HomeStart, a Boston-area housing advocacy nonprofit, has been arguing for years that booting renters costs more than keeping them—over 500% more, in fact, according to research conducted during a pilot eviction prevention program that Pritchard’s team conducted in 2010 in collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority. BHA was the largest housing provider in the city; it was also the most prolific evictor.

“We worked with the finance team and the resident services team at BHA for about a year, and they showed us it was costing them over $10,000 to evict a family, but it was only costing HomeStart about $2,000 to prevent the eviction from happening,” Pritchard says. “The [Boston] Housing Authority acknowledged that HomeStart’s intervention was saving them an obscene amount of money every year.”

Read Yes! Magazine's article "In Boston, an Approach to Housing That Avoids Eviction," featuring the Boston Housing Authority.

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