The Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP)—a collaborative effort by MassHousing, the Housing Courts, property managers and a number of state and local agencies—continues to be a successful resource in preventing homelessness among tenants with disabilities.
Created in 1998, TPP serves as a neutral party between landlord and tenant where a disability such as mental illness, substance abuse or aging-related impairments has led to behaviors putting the tenancy at-risk for eviction. TPP clinicians assess the behaviors and underlying disabilities, identify needed services, develop a treatment plan to maintain the tenancy, and monitor the case. If the tenancy cannot be preserved, TPP coordinates the tenant's transition to a more appropriate placement, preventing homelessness whenever possible.
In calendar year 2016, TPP opened 613 cases, 231 of which involved families with children and 138 involved elders. The program closed 476 cases, with 437 households saved from homelessness—a 92% success rate. Tenancy was preserved in 344 cases; the other 93 resolved cases resulting in tenants moving to a different housing situation.
"In my 25 years working with the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents, TPP is the most important social service program that I know," said David Eng, who coordinates MassHousing’s role in TPP. "Without it, these people—sisters, brothers, grandparents, children—all with disabilities, would be evicted and their conditions would be intolerably aggravated. With it, they are connected or reconnected to social and support networks, accessing the services they need to live successfully in our communities."
TPP also launched a new 'Upstream' pilot project in five locations that identifies problem tenancies sooner, potentially saving legal/court costs and allowing for earlier intervention. Thus far, half of the 48 Upstream cases have been for hoarding or unsanitary conditions, more than triple the expected rate. These challenging, longer-term situations require close collaboration among property management, resident services and TPP, but by intervening earlier, resolution can hopefully be reached without eviction.
TPP operates in collaboration with the Housing Court Department of the Massachusetts Trial Court; The Massachusetts Departments of Children and Families, Developmental Services, Housing and Community Development, Mental Health, Public Health, and Transitional Assistance; The Executive Office of Elder Affairs; public housing authorities; private management companies; and local legal service agencies.
"TPP is an excellent example of how MassHousing collaborates with other agencies and organizations to promote positive housing outcomes," said Thaddeus Miles, MassHousing's Manager of Community Services. "Through these and other partnerships, we are committed to creating healthy housing developments and stronger communities across Massachusetts."