The Institute strives to use our findings from research and evaluation, and our voice within local and national public health debates, to advocate for public policies that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people with an experience of homelessness. The Institute seeks further to critically examine those social policies that create disparate, negative impacts on the health of people of color and other populations who have historically faced stigma, discrimination, and inequities in our health care system and broader society. Finally, the Institute seeks to recruit, support, and retain staff who are passionate about effecting social change that addresses the social determinants of health.
We routinely produce op-eds, public testimony, issue briefs, blog posts, invited remarks and presentations, trainings, letters to elected officials, interviews, and other written and oral products on a range of issues affecting people experiencing homelessness—from poverty, mass incarceration, and substance use services to racism, discrimination, and deportation, and much more. At times, BHCHP employees engage in direct actions, rallies, and demonstrations that uplift the needs of those we serve. And staff are often featured in local and national news outlets.
Our President, Dr. Jim O’Connell, also published Stories from the Shadows, a collection of stories and essays illuminating the challenges and gifts of those struggling to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets of Boston.
People with an experience of homelessness are also actively involved in advocacy efforts. For example, Joanne Guarino, BHCHP Consumer Advisory Board and Board of Directors member, developed The Housing Guide to help people who have experienced homelessness transition more successfully into housing. This guide has been distributed to case managers at various sites throughout the program as well as similar programs in other cities, so they can compile a similar resource for their patients with the appropriate city-specific adaptations. Joanne has also presented on this guide at national conferences, advocating for the unique needs of people who are newly housed.