The 2020 Greater Boston Housing Report Card, Part 2: Race, Equity, Housing and COVID-19

In Part 2, we outlined the history of place and patterns of segregation in Massachusetts, assess their role in quality of life, social mobility, and public health, and highlight how those issues are exacerbated during the COVID-19 crisis.

July 14, 2020

On July 14, the second webinar held a magnifying glass to the issue of race and equity in housing (read the accompanying report here). Research led by the UMass Donahue Center, and presented by Director of Economic and Public Policy Research Mark Melnik, shows our region only inching toward integration, with historic practice and ongoing pressures having pushed immigrants and people of color into more crowded, less well-resourced areas. Those same areas are overlaid with higher rates of COVID-19 infection, with the illness clustered in the Eastern part of the state, particularly in Gateway Cities across Greater Boston. In fact, life expectancy rates can range as high as 30 years in neighborhoods that are within a mile of each other. In these same localities, people who have held on to their jobs are often frontline workers already at higher risk for exposure to the virus.  


With race tied to place, and place itself a driver of social determinants of health, the COVID-19 crisis underscores how inequitable access to safe housing in Greater Boston is, and the dire impact that can have.

Watch and read a recap of the first 2020 Greater Boston Housing Report Card webinar here.

Speakers at the second webinar included: Mark Melnik, Director, Economic & Public Policy Research, UMass Donahue Institute (Presenter); Soni Gupta, Director of Neighbor-hoods & Housing, The Boston Foundation (Moderator); Thea James, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine; Associate Chief Medical Officer, Vice President of Mission, and Director of the Violence Intervention Advocacy Program, Boston Medical Center; Henry Korman, Partner, Klein Hornig LLP; and Rafael Mares, Executive Director, The Neighborhood Developers.