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The Boston Foundation convenes discussion on COVID and housing inequality

Decades of inequity and affordability issues in housing are having a major impact on how the COVID-19 pandemic is playing out in Greater Boston communities, according to an exploration of the data by researchers at the UMass Donahue Institute. Their findings were the focus of the second installment of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2020 webinar series, entitled Racial Equity in Housing in the Time of COVID-19.

In his data presentation, Dr. Mark Melnik, director of Economic & Public Policy Research at the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute, updated the Institute’s tracking of COVID-19 case rates in 100 Massachusetts cities and towns relative to those communities’ populations of color, crowded housing and percentages of frontline workers. Visually displayed on the web as the "Donahue Data Dash", it includes a scatterplot graph of each Mass. community and is updated weekly. The program also featured a panel discussion on how housing affordability, supply and other factors that concentrated people of color into specific communities have fed into the disproportionate spread of COVID-19.

Also joining Dr. Melnik were:

  • Keith Mahoney, Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, The Boston Foundation
  • 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 (VIAP), Boston Medical Center
  • Henry Korman, Partner, Klein Hornig LLP
  • Rafael Mares, Executive Director, The Neighborhood Developers
  • Soni Gupta, Director, Neighborhoods & Housing, The Boston Foundation


Watch the July 14 webinar recording at The Boston Foundation’s Vimeo page.

Read the issue brief, authored by Mark Melnik and Research Analyst Abby Raisz. ​

Learn more about the first Boston Foundation webinar on June 23, 2020 on housing stability.

(This article was adapted from a media advisory The Boston Foundation sent on July 13, 2020.)

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