Why We Walk: Winter Walk

As New England's largest safety-net hospital, Boston Medical Center already is a leading expert in looking at the social determinants of health when caring for patients. Homelessness and housing insecurity (a history of homelessness, moving at least twice in a year or falling behind on rent) are growing concerns among BMC patients. Both are linked to poor child health outcomes and missed educational opportunities, which can adversely impact employment opportunities and financial stability over a lifetime. Despite the desperate need for affordable housing, only one in four eligible families have access to it. To add, this often comes with lengthy waiting periods—in Boston alone, the waitlist for affordable housing units is eight to 10 years.

Homelessness can be stressful and dangerous, leading to and exacerbating medical issues. BMC steps in to help secure stable housing for patients, with the help of social workers and programs like the Elders Living at Home Program, Socially Responsible Surgeons and the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights. With a place to call home, patients and their families are able to grow and thrive.