Community Connections

Recently Housing Families hosted our annual Legislative Breakfast on May 12th at Anthony’s of Malden.

YPAC Members and Board Member Lisa Nickerson at the Annual Legislative Breakfast.

“It has been inspiring to see such a great turnout after the challenges presented to us all during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Laura Rosi, CEO of Housing Families. “The Legislative Breakfast is a special event for Housing Families because we get to recognize and honor the hard work done by our organization as well as other groups and members of the community throughout the year.”

This year the event honored local leaders, provided an update on the work we have done over the past two years, including a powerful story about the impact of our work, and advocated to legislators for funding and public policy to advance housing and health equity in Massachusetts.

This year, we were thrilled to honor Malden Mayor Gary Christenson for his housing advocacy and eviction prevention measures, as well as La Colaborativa for their work in providing support to residents and members of the Latinx community within Chelsea and surrounding cities.

Mayor Christenson shares his remarks.

Mayor Christenson received the Housing Hero award and La Colaborativa received the Health Hero Award.

In his time as Mayor of Malden, Gary Christenson has committed himself to working in unison with residents and businesses to tackle problems facing the city and was a leader in preventing evictions during the pandemic. In doing so, Mayor Christenson has been able to encourage citizen engagement and enhance the delivery of services for all residents in Malden. “Working side by side with Housing Families has given me and the City of Malden a greater understanding of, and ability to, support families and individuals experiencing housing concerns in our area,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “The work that Housing Families and La Colaborativa do supports thousands of people from our community every year, aiding in the creation of a stronger community.”

(From left) Housing Families Board Member Ann Wu, MD, German H. Miranda, Case Manager & RAFT Specialist at La Colaborativa, featured Family Speaker Maria Willess, Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, and Housing Families CEO Laura Rosi.

La Colaborativa focuses on providing food and housing security, economic advancement, cultural celebration, and immigrant leadership that will drive policy and systemic change that benefits the Latinx community long term. Through partnering with Latinx immigrants, La Colaborativa has been able to design and deliver an array of programs and initiatives that support some of the most vulnerable community members in the state including newly arrived immigrants, undocumented families, non-English speakers, and low-income tenants and workers. Their grassroots health efforts during the pandemic, including education around and building access to vaccines, and opening a large food pantry, have been crucial.

“We are honored to have received an award from Housing Families at this year’s breakfast,” said Dinanyili Del Carmen Paulino, Chief Operating Officer at La Colaborativa. “Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have faced many challenges but have also seen the community come together in ways we could’ve never imagined.”

Senator Lewis addresses guests.

Housing Families’ CEO, Laura Rosi advocated to present legislators to add additional funding to the State budget for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and invited attendees to partner with Housing Families and our innovative work to create more housing. Attendees heard from State Senator Jason Lewis, who has been engaged in this work.

Guests also heard a powerful story from Housing Families’ client Maria Willess, who advocated for

Speaker Maria Willess and her family.

herself and her family against systemic barriers for years, in the face of chronic illness and homelessness, and was finally able to find stable and supportive housing with Housing Families. Her story highlights the critical need for affordable and extremely low-income housing, as well as the need for increased access to physical and mental health care for community.

The event was an important opportunity to highlight the connection between health and housing and how the community can problem-solve together to address the housing and health crises we are witnessing.

“We are proud to have sponsored Housing Families’ recent Legislative Breakfast which encouraged constructive dialogue and conversation around housing equity initiatives in Greater Boston,” said Patrick Cahill, president of Commercial Markets for Point32Health. “There is strong evidence that being without a stable home can be detrimental to a person’s physical and mental health. We support the potential for better health outcomes through improved housing quality, affordability and safety for all.”

Agents from Leading Edge, generous event sponsor.

This year’s Legislative Breakfast was supported by extremely generous sponsors: BOND, Nickerson, Leading Edge Real Estate, Anchor Line Partners, Michael and Heather Boujoulian, Point32Health, Compass Real Estate, Eastern Cannabis Co., Milwaukee Tool, IBEW 2222, Dom’s Sausage, Lucey Insurance Agency, and Pepperberry Florist and Gift Shop.

From Kristi Amendolare, Executive Director of Operations, Anchor Line Partners: “Anchor Line is proud to support the impactful Legislative Breakfast and Housing Families’ vision for creating more affordable, accessible housing for Massachusetts residents. As real estate experts, we can see firsthand the impact of Housing Families’ work, and we are proud to support their mission.”

Thank you to our extraordinary sponsors for supporting this important community event!