A Better Life – Synergy Initiative Round 3

The Health Foundation provided over $3 million to the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) to enable families to achieve economic self-sufficiency and transition out of public housing. WHA aimed to break the persistent cycle of poverty and public housing reliance and transform the lives of its residents with comprehensive wrap-around services that promote a strong and self-sufficient family unit.

  • The goal of this project was to enable families to achieve economic self-sufficiency and transition out of public housing.
  • As of December 2020, 100 families have used their escrow, averaging nearly $10,000 per family, to move out of public housing.
  • The employment rate at Great Brook Valley and Curtis Apartments jumped by 23% (from 39% in 2014 to 62% in 2019).
  • In July 2014, “An Act to Foster Economic Independence” was approved by the state legislature. It included a provision that required the MA DHCD to allow the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) to operate ABL in its state-subsidized housing properties, which represent about 20% (493) of its units. In April 2015, DHCD approved the administrative details to implement the work/education requirement.
  • Advocacy efforts at the state level have led to system changes to sustain and replicate ABL. In May 2015, ABL was selected by DHCD as an innovative model program to replicate at other Housing Authorities. In March 2019, nearly $1 million was awarded by DHCD to enable the Gloucester, New Bedford, and Taunton Housing Authorities to implement ABL.

A Better Life Final Evaluation Report July 2017

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $1 Million to Expand Economic Independence Programming to Three Housing Authorities
Press Release, March 21, 2019
State’s A Better Life program expands to New Bedford
South Coast Today, March 22, 2019
Tenant employment rate rises in Worcester housing projects
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, March 13, 2019
◊ Top HUD official salutes Worcester’s efforts to aid displaced Puerto Ricans
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, August 29, 2018
State puts up $389k to expand WHA’s ‘Better Life’ program
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, September 18, 2017