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From left: Stephanie Rodriguez, Wil Santana - Urban Edge; Iris Coloma-Gaine - Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; Vanessa Daneshvar, Elsa Villanueva - Metro Housing Boston; Nineequa Blanding, Soni Gupta - the Boston Foundation; Robert Torres, Urban Edge; Elsa Lizarralde, Boston Housing Authority; Francesca Crutchfield-Stoker, Boston Children’s Primary Care at Martha Eliot Health Center

health outcomes. Historically, the housing and health care sectors have operated on separate tracks. Health Starts at Home, a consortium of partnerships, changes that. The initiative is crossing previously disconnected sectors and working in different ways with disparate service providers from small to mammoth. It is ambitious and complex, but so promising that the Foundation has been joined in supporting it by regional and national funders. Out of these pilot partnerships will come insights and best practices in identifying at-risk families, coordinating and integrating services, linking families to care networks and making the best use of existing services. That’s all very grand sounding at the high level, but it doesn’t take long sitting among the case workers and other professionals from the partnerships to see that at every level they are the lifeblood of the program. With profound care for the people they serve, they are personally learning new ways of interacting with counterparts across the health and housing landscape and continuing their tireless efforts to connect clients to resources. But there are rewards. “The most rewarding aspect of my work is the trust that my clients have in me and believing that I will do my best to help them,” says Housing Search Case Manager Elsa Villanueva of Metro Housing Boston. “My clients are so filled with kindness and gratitude when they speak with me. It makes it all worthwhile.”

THE PARTNERSHIPS

Building Bridges to Better Health: Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children and Urban Edge Chelsea Homes for Health: Massachusetts General Hospital and MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center, Metro Housing Boston, The Neighborhood Developers and Roca Housing Prescriptions as Health Care: Boston Housing Authority, Boston Medical Center—Problem Solving Education, BMC HealthNet Plan, Children’s HealthWatch, Medical-Legal Partnership, Nuestra Comunidad and Project Hope Mortar Between the Bricks: Boston Children’s Primary Care at Martha Eliot Health Center, Longwood Horizons for Homeless Children and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

$2.9 Million

Total investment by the

Boston Foundation and other local and national funders

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Profile for BostonFoundation

Better Together: The Boston Foundation 2018 Annual Report