HAN member UMass Memorial Health worked with a coalition to successfully advocate for the City of Worcester to invest approximately 20% of its ARPA funds for housing, including $15 million for a new Affordable Housing Trust Fund and funding for a variety of other initiatives such as housing rehabilitation, first time homeowner assistance, and “Housing First” homelessness support. The coalition arose out of the Worcester Together group and included representatives from a variety of local organizations such as CDCs (including Main South CDC and Worcester Common Ground), Central Mass Housing Alliance, Black Families Together, Central-West Justice Center, and Worcester Community Action Council.
HAN member Mass General Brigham (MGB) submitted testimony in the Massachusetts’ state legislature in support of a proposed bill that would raise revenues for affordable housing by allowing cities and towns to collect a fee on certain real estate transactions. As the state’s largest private employer, the health system’s support is significant and the state bill sponsor stated that MGB’s support is an “excellent sign” of the emerging understanding that housing is essential to public health.
From the article:
The legislation has been sitting with the state Legislature since last year, but backing from an influential hospital system with 80,000 employees could give it momentum. . . . “ There’s tremendous research and evidence that housing is a form of medicine,” said Elsie Taveras, MGB’s chief community health equity officer, in an interview, citing research that shows access to stable housing could both lower heath care costs and improve outcomes.