Housing Quality and Health Equity Initiative
On October 26th, MACDC hosted a Statewide Kickoff event for our Housing Quality and Health Equity Initiative (“The Equity Initiative”). Close to 100 participants joined us at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation of Massachusetts to learn about the Equity Initiative and to strategize together about future directions. The Kickoff event centered around a report that we recently published in partnership with the Green and Healthy Initiative (GHHI) which explores housing quality and health challenges and opportunities throughout Massachusetts with a focus on Gateway Cities.
The Equity Initiative is a five-year project funded by the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Fund and, in addition to the research component the Equity Initiative centers around:
- Community Engagement: MACDC is currently working with community members, municipal officials, and grassroots organizations in three Gateway Cities (Brockton, Holyoke and Springfield) to identify local problems and developing solutions that will work on the local level.
- Policy Advocacy: Through the Equity Initiative, MACDC is conducting ongoing policy advocacy, for programs, resources and policies to improve housing quality and the resultant health outcomes of community residents. These efforts are currently focused on advancing the Massachusetts Healthy Homes Program (MHHP) legislation, which will build on current programs and create a whole-homes approach to improve housing quality, and thereby improve resident health.
- Addressing Racial Inequities: Poor housing quality and the associated health outcomes disproportionately impact individuals, families, and communities of color throughout Massachusetts. It is for this reason that a racial equity lens guides the Equity Initiative, focusing on Gateway Cities, where people of color are more likely to live, and these households suffer disproportionately from the health consequences of substandard housing.
At the Statewide Kickoff, State Representative Shirley Arriaga of Chicopee spoke passionately about the need to pass MHHP, and GHHI CEO Ruth Ann Norton spoke persuasively about the national imperative to confront the devastating impact that paint, poor indoor air quality, and other housing quality problems have on our communities. A panel of Springfield leaders, consisting of a Revitalize CDC Board member, the City’s Housing Director, and a local resident who focuses on the health of seniors, described their local efforts. We continued with an interactive discussion among the event concluded with a networking lunch.
The Equity Initiative is guided by MACDC’s Housing Quality and Health Task Force, a group of experienced practitioners consisting of advocates in the health equity, housing, elder and disability fields; healthcare providers; and data professionals.
The Equity Initiative is staffed by MACDC’s Program Director for Health Equity Elana Brochin, MACDC’s Director of Housing Don Bianchi, and MACDC’s Health Equity Intern Meisui Liu. Contact us if you want more information or would like to join our effort!