Housing Quality & Health Equity Initiative

The MACDC Housing Quality & Health Equity Initiative aims to achieve better health through better housing.

Poor housing quality indelibly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of individuals and families living in the housing. Through four key pillars, the MACDC Housing Quality & Health (HQH) Equity Initiative aims to address the negative impacts of substandard housing quality – with a focus on lead paint and poor indoor air quality - on health and housing stability across the Commonwealth. These pillars are:



Bridging disciplines and uniting sectors towards a common goal: Better Health through Better Housing

MACDC’s work in health and housing has been informed by multidisciplinary and cross-sector perspectives from the very beginning, underscoring our motivation to realize impactful change. MACDC’s Housing Quality and Health Task Force was formed in December 2021, with a primary goal of substantially increase the quality of the existing housing stock in Massachusetts and, through this work, to significantly contribute to the elimination of racial disparities in health outcomes. Today, the Task Force continues to advise the MACDC team on the direction of the HQH Equity Initiative.  



PILLAR 1: Community Engagement

In Year 1 of the HQH Equity Initiative, we partnered with 3 Gateway Cities - Brockton, Springfield, and Holyoke. As the initiative advances into its subsequent years, we will be partnering with more cities to continue to learn about the problem from folks on the ground. Furthermore, through thoughtful and deep community engagement, we hope to: 

  • Amplify the voices of those with the lived experiences of poor housing quality and its associated impact on health 
  • Identify potential short-term strategies to improve housing conditions and health outcomes.  
  • Over the long term, help communities strengthen existing and acquire new resources they need to address these problems.  


Insights we learned from our first year of community engagement efforts are synthesized below: 

PILLAR 2: Building Knowledge

We partnered with the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) to generate a research report detailing the scale of poor housing quality issues (lead paint and poor indoor air quality) in Massachusetts, the scope of available resources and where gaps exist to address these issues, and the link between housing quality and housing instability. Our goal is to use this knowledge base to inform and advance our policy advocacy and community engagement efforts moving forward in years 2-5. 


PILLAR 3: Advocacy

At the policy level, we are advocating for both statewide and local resources to address poor quality housing issue. This year, we focused on advancing the Massachusetts Healthy Homes Program (MHHP) (S.881 & H.1307), which is co-sponsored by Senator Keenan, Represenative Cruz, and Representative Arriaga.

  • Learn about the components of MHHP with our fact sheet.


PILLAR 4: Advancing Racial Equity

Advancing racial equity stands as a fundamental value that guides all aspects of the Housing Quality and Health Equity Initiative. Recognizing the pervasive impact of historical and ongoing racist systems and policies that contribute to enduring disparities in housing and health, we firmly assert the imperative for each pillar of our initiative to actively promote and empower racial equity. In accordance with this commitment, we are dedicated to ensuring that every facet of our work contributes meaningfully to this value: 


The HQH Statewide Kick Off celebrated the culmination of our work in Year 1, marked the publication of the GHHI Research Report, and launched the next phase of our initiative – to broaden and deepen our work in Gateway Cities across the Commonwealth. Here is a snapshot of what’s to come: 


To learn more about our work, please contact:

Elana Brochin, MACDC Program Director for Health Equity, at elanab@macdc.org.

Don Bianchi, MACDC Director of Housing, at donb@macdc.org.