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Housing Security

A lack of stable housing increases the risk of poor health outcomes and other hardships. Through dedicated funding and local partnerships, Boston Medical Center is combating homelessness, transforming temporary solutions into permanent housing, and giving people the tools they need to maintain a home for good.

Housing instability is a term that encompasses factors such as being behind on mortgage or rent, making multiple moves, living in a shelter, and experiencing homelessness. Many pediatric and adult health issues, such as asthma, lead exposure, and depression, link back to housing insecurity. Displacement that stems from housing instability can also bring emotional trauma and other challenges, such as violence, substance abuse, interrupted education, and difficulties finding meaningful work. These problems take place amidst an affordability crisis in Boston, where an average one-bedroom apartment costs nearly $2,000 monthly and requires an income exceeding $60,000 a year. Such circumstances may mean that families have to choose between paying for rent and paying for medication and other health expenses.

In 2017, BMC committed 100% of its $6.5 million Determination of Need contribution to housing — marking the first time that a Massachusetts hospital has earmarked all of its community health funding toward one social determinant of health. Partnerships in housing, such as the Madison Park Development Corporation and Boston Health Care for the Homeless, drive positive change in neighborhoods where many patients already live, providing housing improvements, transit-inclusive developments, housing and healthcare integrations, and affordability projects. Many other commitments, services, and partnerships complement those efforts, such as Elders Living at Home and the BMC-founded Health Leads, which help connect people with housing solutions.

Each of these efforts is integral for our progress toward a healthier Boston.

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