“Thank you for providing me with a home and saving me from the hell that is homelessness.”


-Bowdoin Manor Resident





The majority of homeless people that come to Commonwealth Land Trust are in a state of crisis. For months or even years, they have slept in crowded emergency shelters, abandoned buildings, cars, and the street. During the day, they are forced to find lodging outside where they are exposed to rain, snow, and other adverse conditions. Many are struggling with exacerbating health problems, including physical disabilities, mental illness, addiction, and HIV/AIDS. Indeed, studies have shown that individuals trapped in a cycle of homelessness face serious health problems:



  • The average life expectancy for homeless individuals is 42- to 50-years-old[i]
  • 3.4% of homeless individuals are HIV positive[ii]
  • 26.2% of homeless individuals have a severe mental illness
  • 34.7% of homeless individuals have addictions issues[iii]



Over 50% of Commonwealth Land Trust’s supportive housing residents are chronically homeless. Accounting for 10-20% of the total homeless population, chronically homeless individuals face even graver challenges than the general homeless population. The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a chronically homeless individual as one who has (1) experienced homelessness for a year or longer; or (2) has experienced four instances of homelessness in the past three years; and (3) has a disability.[iv]


The fragmented service systems that chronically homeless individuals interact with, including emergency shelters, in-patient treatment centers, emergency rooms, and police departments, are ill-equipped to address their complex challenges. Commonwealth Land Trust recognizes that the best way to serve chronically homeless individuals is to pair permanent housing with on-site case management services. This combination enables homeless individuals to achieve stability and confront the challenges that led them to the streets.





Commonwealth Land Trust practices a holistic, client-centered approach to case management provision. Upon move-in, we work with residents to develop an individual service plan to address their medical, social, and financial challenges. While each client enters our housing with unique challenges and goals, the overarching aim of our case management program is to ensure that residents remain in permanent housing and increase their self-sufficiency. Markers of self-sufficiency include managing one’s health care needs, budgeting, and participating in enriching activities, such as volunteering, working, or pursuing education.


A vital component of our supportive housing is the on-site nature of our case management services. Case managers maintain offices in each of our supportive housing properties, providing clients with easy access to counseling, supportive referrals, medication adherence training, and other vital services. By removing barriers like travel time and attendant loss of motivation, CLT is able to keep the vast majority of residents engaged in care.


Our holistic on-site case management model produces highly successful outcomes, as the vast majority of residents remain in permanent housing, increase their self-sufficiency, and overcome the challenges that led them to the streets. Among our formerly homeless clients:


  • 95% remain in permanent housing
  • 92% are successfully managing their health
  • 90% are able to budget; 15% are employed
  • 28% volunteer on a regular basis; 10% are pursuing education





From the time of application and throughout their tenancy, CLT residents are supported in the following three areas: housing search and advocacy, supportive housing management, and case management. Click on the links below to learn more about these vital services and CLT’s team-based approach.









[i] US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “The 2010 Annual Homelessness Report to Congress” (report presented to congress, Washington DC, 2011).

[ii] “HIV/AIDS & Homelessness,” National Coalition to End Homelessness, accessed April 17, 2013, http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/hiv.html.

[iii] US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “The 2010 Annual Homelessness Report to Congress” (report presented to congress, Washington DC, 2011).

[iv] US Department of Housing and Urban Development, “The 2010 Annual Homelessness Report to Congress” (report presented to congress, Washington DC, 2011).