Enterprise Community Partners Helps Boston Nonprofit Community Developers Improve Resident Health through Healthy Homes

BOSTON – Dec. 14, 2017 – As part of its growing Health and Housing initiative, Enterprise Community Partners Inc. (Enterprise) is supporting two Boston-area nonprofits – Urban Edge, Inc. and Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation – in their work to design homes and services that improve the health of their residents. 

Grant funding from Enterprise will enable the community developers to create health action plans—a process that identifies and addresses health needs of residents through affordable housing design and construction—for the redevelopment of the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain’s Jackson Square and of 91-101 Waldeck Street in Dorchester. 

“Through these grants, Enterprise will help Boston-based partners create health action plans to identify, implement and monitor health‐promoting features of their properties and strengthen their work with partners to improve resident health,” said Krista Egger, director, initiatives, Enterprise. 

Urban Edge develops affordable housing and vibrant, prosperous communities in Boston’s Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods. Working with development partners Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and The Community Builders, Urban Edge will use the funds to create a health action plan for the redevelopment of Mildred Hailey Apartments, which the Boston Housing Authority plans to rehabilitate in phases. 

Its health action plan process will involve collaborating with community health and service providers to engage residents and incorporate their input in the creation of new design and service strategies to improve health.

“There is a growing body of evidence that the relationship between quality housing and public health is important,” said Frank Shea, chief executive officer, Urban Edge.  “Urban Edge is pleased to be working on this important initiative for residents of the Mildred Hailey Apartments, and we wish to thank Enterprise Community Partners for their support.”

Enterprise will also provide financial and technical assistance to the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (CSNDC) to develop a health action plan for its affordable housing property at 91-101 Waldeck Street. Most Waldeck Street residents are low-income African-American men with medical needs. Enterprise’s support will help CSNDC assess the property and resident needs, then design and institute health-related improvements to resident services and the building itself, all before the property begins the renovation process. Throughout this process CSNDC will build partnerships between residents and hospitals, including the Boston Medical Center, which will work with CSNDC to implement the health action plan. 

“Codman Square NDC is pleased to be working with Enterprise and Boston Medical Center on this initiative,” said Gail Latimore, executive director, CSNDC. “We look forward to exploring the intersection of health and housing in terms of design implications for resident health and well-being at our Orlando Waldeck property. This represents an opportunity to develop an enhanced model for this and other developments.”

Enterprise will also work with Urban Edge and CSNDC to incorporate new strategies to better understand the impact designing for health can have on the residents who will live in these developments. In future phases of work, the team intends to ascertain how their design interventions are impacting resident outcomes. 

“Rooted in the growing understanding of how homes can improve health, health action plans provide a systemic approach to changing the culture of community development corporations, applying a lens on health and helping to foster partnerships with health systems,” said Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Grow Clinic, Boston Medical Center. 

The inclusion of health action plans in the two Boston developments builds on lessons learned from the Health Action Plan pilot evaluation Enterprise conducted last year, which is one part of its expanding effort to improve lives and health through increased collaboration between the health and housing sectors. In the pilot, Enterprise selected five community development corporations (CDCs) from across the country to create a health action plan and work in partnership with a local public health professional. The CDCs were provided ready access to technical assistance from national experts and learning opportunities from a peer network. Each participant benefitted from deep technical support on a single housing development and was expected to apply the knowledge gained to their future work. 

“Training these Boston-based developers on the health action plan process is an important next step in Enterprise’s work to build the field of health and housing, including bringing together developers of affordable homes and public health partners,” said Alma Balonon-Rosen, director, Enterprise. “We’re excited to test this work in an especially high-cost housing city like Boston, using the power of homes to improve resident health, particularly for very low-income households.”