The Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA) has received the Hearst Health Prize for Excellence in Population Health. The prize recognizes MHSA’s Home & Healthy for Good (HHG) program, which was founded in 2006. The win was announced on Tuesday, March 20 at the 18th annual Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia.
“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 & Executive Director of MHSA, in a press release.
The Hearst Health Prize, given in partnership with the Jefferson College of Population Health, is awarded for outstanding achievements in managing or improving health in the U.S. The MHSA will receive a $100,000 cash award for the organizations measurable improvement of population health in Massachusetts. The award recognizes organizations throughout the U.S., and also awards a $25,000 prize to two runner ups, All Children Thrive (ACT) Learning Network and Nurse-Family Partnership.
Population Health aims to improve health in a community by connecting people with safe, easily accessible healthcare. The Jefferson College of Population Health website defines it as, “A systematic, holistic approach that aims to prevent disease by keeping people healthy and improving the quality of care.”
The Home and Healthy for Good program works to provide permanent housing and support to chronically homeless people in order for them to access safer, less expensive and more personal healthcare experiences. Without a place to stay, many homeless people rely on visits to emergency rooms and public health clinics for ailments, which becomes costly and does not always address individual needs.
According to a report published to the MHSA website, singe HHG began in 2006 it “has placed 973 chronically homeless adults into permanent housing with supportive services.” Out of those adults, 93 percent have reported improvements in quality of life, as stated in the report.
Founded in 1988, the MHSA’s singular mission is to end homelessness in Massachusetts. For many, the challenges faced when dealing with illness and injury are far worse without a permanent residence. Home & Healthy for Good assures its tenants have the ability to heal properly, providing clean spaces and access to the right forms of care for each specific placement. This includes physical, mental and detox facilities where without a permanent address, care would be much harder to find.