November 19 , 2018
We are thankful for the opportunity to serve MA and to support our Community Action network.  We are thankful for all of our partners in this important work.  We wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.
DID YOU KNOW: Poverty Jeopardizes Health 
  • Unsafe Affordable Housing: 7 in 10 housing units in MA were built before the 1978 ban on lead paint.
  • The extreme stress associated with persistent poverty can have lifelong impacts on the well-being of children and families, increasing risk for behavioral health problems.
  • Lack of affordable transportation makes it hard to get to work as well as meet basic needs (food, healthcare).
  •  1 in 10 households in MA are "Food Insecure". Children can't learn and develop when they are hungry.   
For more information and to access the data, "Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward" published in May 2018
POLICY MATTERS: Programs Remove Obstacles & Improve Health
Public Programs cut poverty approximately in half in MA - keeping 920,000 (including +200,000 children) out of poverty.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) alone keeps 140,000 out of poverty and keeps food on the table.
  • The WIC Program, serving 24,800 infants, 62,000 children and 24,400 women, and School Meals Program, serving +9 M lunches and 1/2 M breakfasts monthly, increase nutrition and improve health.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) have kept 150,000 people out of poverty in MA. Research links the economic boost provided by these two credits with improved child health and even long-term educational outcomes.

  • Heating Help Programs including Fuel Assistance and Energy Efficiency Programs serving 160,000 annually keeps people warm and safe and protects families from having to choose between heat and food or other necessities.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Focusing on the Social Determinants of Health
The social, economic, behavioral, and physical factors that we experience where we work, live, and play make up the majority of what impacts our health.  In MA, these factors are grouped into six big issue areas commonly known as the Social Determinants of Health: Built Environment, Education, Employment, Housing, Violence, and Social Environment (MA Dept. of Public Health).

The goal is for ALL MA residents to have the same opportunities for good health.  Community Action Agencies are working every day to improve the conditions in which people live, and therefore improve health.
  • In Gloucester and across the North Shore, Action Inc. is partnering with cities and health organizations in a collaborative initiative to address substance use disorders through intensive case coordination, improved access to treatment and provision of recovery services.
  • In the Berkshires, Berkshire Community Action Council is working with local financial institutions, car dealers and other nonprofits to operate the Community Action Rides (C.A.R.) program to address the need for affordable and reliable transportation.
  • In Plymouth County, South Shore Community Action Council runs a regional Food Resource Program distributing more than 480,000 pounds of food annually.
Other Resources
MASSCAP is a member of the Alliance for Community Health Integration, a coalition working to harness healthcare to address the social determinants of health and promote health equity. We are also working closely with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) both locally and statewide to support the health and overall well-being of Mass Health clients (part of Medicaid reform). For more information and to get involved, contact your Community Action Agency.

Stay tuned for details about the next forum on poverty and the way forward in the Berkshires on January 11.

Our Mission
To strengthen and connect the statewide network of Community Action Agencies and collectively advocate for an end to poverty.

Our Vision
All MA residents will be able to meet their basic needs, access economic opportunities, build strong communities and move toward prosperity...

Find your Agency
There are 23 Community Action Agencies in Massachusetts serving virtually every city and town in the state.   To locate the agency in your area and learn more about the programs they offer,  click here .

Read our 2017 Annual Report
                                              #End PovertyMA