Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance takes $100,000 Hearst Health Prize

The award is given in partnership with Jefferson College of Population Health.
By Bernie Monegain
03:05 PM
Share
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance takes $100,000 Hearst Health Prize

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston. Credit: Google Street View

Hearst Health and the Jefferson College of Population Health announced today that the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance is the winner of the 2018 Hearst Health Prize.

The prize went to the organization for providing permanent housing for people coping with chronic homelessness.

[Also: Social determinants of health and the $1.7 trillion opportunity to slash spending]

"All of us at Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance see this award as validating the growing belief that a truly integrated healthcare system must include appropriate, supportive, safe and affordable housing," said Joe Finn, president and executive director of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, in accepting the award.

The alliance's Home and Healthy for Good program provides permanent supportive housing to address chronic homelessness and overutilization of acute care and emergency care by removing barriers to housing. Tenants live in leased, independent apartments or shared living arrangements that are integrated into the community.

They also have access to a broad range of comprehensive, community-based services, including medical and mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, case management and vocational and life skills training.

"This program works in a unique way with nonprofit organizations for housing, using an evidence-based approach for measuring and managing its impact," Gregory Dorn, MD, president of Hearst Health said. "They have demonstrated how addressing a fundamental social need can generate meaningful health and financial outcomes."

The Hearst Health Prize applications were evaluated based on the program's population health impact or outcome. Impacts of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance's Home and Healthy for Good program included:

  • A 78 percent reduction in utilization of emergency services within the first six months of housing; there is an increased utilization of mainstream systems of preventive and primary care.
  • Prior to entering the program, 29 percent of the participants were satisfied with their health. After housing, 63 percent of the participants reported satisfaction with health.
  • Since its founding, 981 adults experiencing chronic homelessness have been placed in permanent housing across Massachusetts.
  • Two thirds of the total Home and Healthy for Good population is either still housed or has left the program to move on to another type of permanent housing.

"Awarding the Hearst Health Prize to Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance acknowledges that housing and health are intertwined," David B. Nash, MD, dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health, said in a statement. "The provision of housing and related services are interventions that have an impact on issues such as readmissions, addiction, employment, mental health and preventive healthcare."

In addition to the $100,000 award to the winner, Hearst Health also gave $25,000 to each of the two finalists: Nurse-Family Partnership and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Videos:

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com