Throughout the spring and fall of 2022, the Community Advisory Board (CAB) reviewed MGH community engagement and Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) data, met with experts in the field, and selected four priorities with areas of focus for the MGH Community Health Impact Funds:
- Economic/Financial Stability and Mobility - Focus on educational attainment and creating career pathways.
- Housing - Focus on educational attainment and creating career pathways.
- Mental/Behavioral - Focus on access to treatment and innovative approaches to prevention and care delivery.
- Food/Nutirition Security - Focus on access to treatment and innovative approaches to prevention and care delivery.
Specific strategies to address these priorities were finalized in March and April of 2023:
Economic/Financial Stability and Mobility Strategies
- Innovative Workforce Development: Adopt innovative workforce development strategies to train low- and moderate-income residents, as well as returning citizens (e.g., through apprenticeships, as well as promotion and training for new careers such as Community Health Workers (CHWs) and community liaisons, childcare specialists, etc.).
- Invest in Multilingual Workforce: Provide opportunities for bilingual/multilingual individuals so they may be recruited in healthcare, education, and other industries. This strategy also includes proper training for translators and interpreters. Increase the workforce with specialized training (e.g., mental health/substance use training allows for an increase in CHWs & recovery coaches) who represent low-income, immigrant, LGBTQ, seniors, and/or communities of color. (Upstream – link to economic and financial stability – individuals who fill these positions may become more economically sound while doing this work).
- Training on Wealth Building and Business Loans: Provide entrepreneurs within the community with training on financial management and sustainability, how to establish wealth, and financing for new businesses (e.g., new childcare businesses, etc.).
- ***Production of Affordable Housing: Advocate for and support public and private funding to support the production of affordable housing (e.g., fund affordable housing trust funds and community land trusts, support fair housing and local zoning reform, and transitional housing, etc.).
- Eviction Prevention: Support policies that prevent evictions and create resources for residents at risk of displacement.
- ***Support CDCs & Other Non-Profit Development Corps: Increase CDCs’ ability to buy, construct, preserve, and manage affordable housing (e.g., provide no- or low-cost capital [that can be revolving] to help nonprofits afford multi-family buildings when they go on the market to avoid displacement and secure long-term affordability).
Mental/Behavioral Health Strategies
- Expand Behavioral Health Services: Increase community-based behavioral health centers and other similar initiatives (e.g., restorative justice and community-led behavioral health initiatives, group work) for substance use disorder (SUD) and trauma-informed care for Black, Hispanic, and non-English speaking individuals.
- Innovative Youth Well-Being Interventions: Engage schools in health and wellness programs, exercise education, SUD and mental health prevention and interventions.
Food and Nutrition Insecurity Strategies
- Policy & System Change: Support policy, systems, and environmental changes to increase access to affordable, healthy foods and physical activity in communities and school environments (e.g., fund Mass in Motion collaborations).
- ***Capital Investment for Incubation Centers: Support new food incubation centers, such as the Commonwealth Kitchen in Greater Boston. Potential to connect to Economic/Financial Stability & Mobility strategies.
- Create New Innovative Systems for Food Growth: Create and support hydroponic and new green technologies for growing, rooftop gardens, vertical food farming, etc.
***Community Advisory Board favors larger investments in the initial years of funding.To be decided: Amount of funding allocated to each priority and strategy & timeframe for funding.