Neighborhoods & Housing

Increase the livability, affordability and safety of Greater Boston neighborhoods

Vibrant neighborhood  photo The focus areas of the Neighborhoods & Housing impact area are the neighborhoods along the Fairmount Indigo Corridor, in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park, and advancing policy reforms that increase housing production and use housing to improve the lives of low-income families.


The Housing strategy uses grant making, program related investments and convening power to fundamentally reform the systems that impede housing production and destabilize low-income families.

The Housing strategy has the following goals:

  1. Support the reform of state and city policies so that the private market can meet demand for more affordable and market-rate housing. The strategy pursues the following activities:
    • Commissions research – example: the Greater Boston Housing Report Card, an annual report on the state of housing in Greater Boston
    • Convenes the Commonwealth Housing Task Force, which brings together housing experts and advocates to advocate for a common housing agenda
    • Provides grant support to nonprofits to build the capacity of reform-minded officials and support local efforts to reform zoning and land use policies to improve housing production

  2. Demonstrate how stable housing can be a platform to improve quality of life for low-income families and save taxpayer dollars—and promote these models to policymakers and advocate for policy change. The strategy works toward this goal through Health Starts at Home (HSAH), an initiative that brings together housing and health-care organizations to demonstrate the positive effects of stable, affordable housing on children’s health outcomes.

Grantee Highlight

Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) is a nonprofit umbrella organization for affordable housing and community development activities in Massachusetts. CHAPA encourages the production and preservation of housing that is affordable to low and moderate income people and fosters diverse and sustainable communities through planning and community development. CHAPA's core activities span four main areas - housing advocacy, research, community education and training, and coalition building. CHAPA has been a key advocacy partner of the Housing strategy, supporting the reform of state and city policies that prevent housing creation so that the private market can meet demand for more affordable and market-rate housing. Additionally, CHAPA Executive Director, Brenda Clement, serves as a co-chair for the Commonwealth Housing Task Force.


The Neighborhoods strategy supports communities adjacent to Boston’s Fairmount Indigo Commuter Rail Line to build their collective capacity to advocate for equitable development policies and to become a recognized political force by state and local policymakers.

The Neighborhoods strategy seeks to achieve the following goals:

  1. Support the development of the Fairmount Indigo Network, a network of nonprofit, community and business leaders who live and work along the corridor.  The Network aims to shape and influence the future of its community, secure resources and ensure equity and opportunity for residents and businesses along the corridor. The strategy works toward this goal through the following activities:

    • Grant support to nonprofits in the network who are advocating to improve transit access
    • Small grant support to collaborations between nonprofits located in and/or serving the Fairmount Indigo neighborhoods through the Fairmount Indigo Network Small Grant Fund 

  2. Coordinate with other complementary impact areas at the Boston Foundation:

Grantee Highlight

Greater Four Corners Action Coalition promotes neighborhood stabilization in the Four Corners community of Dorchester by addressing the issues of crime and safety through organizing residents, providing positive opportunities for youth, promoting economic development and collaborating with others. Greater Four Corners has been a leader in the development of the Fairmount Indigo Line and promoting transit equity for residents of the Fairmount Indigo Corridor.

Learn how to apply for the different types of available funding.

Related Information

Health Starts at Home

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Latest News

Boston Foundation, MassINC, Criminal Justice Reform Coalition produce report on incarceration of city residents
Date: November 10, 2016
The Boston Foundation’s Boston Indicators Project, MassINC, and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, released today The Geography of Incarceration: The Cost and Consequences of High Incarceration Rates in Vulnerable City Neighborhoods, a new study that compares the geography of incarceration to the geography of crime in our city.
Boston Foundation partners with MassINC for public forum on criminal justice reform
Date: January 27, 2016
Before an overflow crowd of more than 300, the Boston Foundation hosted a forum Wednesday morning, with nonpartisan public policy think tank Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, titled “Re-entry, Recidivism, and Reform: How Massachusetts Compares to Other States.”


The Permanent Fund for Boston Longley-Elisio-photo

At the heart of everything the Boston Foundation has done over the last century—every grant it has made, every innovation it has supported, every cause it has championed—is its endowment, the Permanent Fund for Boston.  Established through bequests left by hundreds of visionary and forward-thinking Bostonians since 1917, this essential fund fuels all of the Foundation’s work and provides the resources that have sparked positive change and enabled new ideas.

The Civic Leadership Fund Golden Dome photo 2016 Over the last 15 years, the Boston Foundation has become a major civic leader for Greater Boston and our region—with crucial support from the Civic Leadership Fund. The Foundation and its many partners in the business and nonprofit communities—as well as numerous public officials—have had a real impact on a series of issues that are critical to the economic competitiveness and civic health of Greater Boston.