Metro Housing Receives $1M from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, MA – Metro Housing will receive $1 million over three years from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to explore the inequality of calculating rent for working families with rental vouchers.

Nearly $700,000 from the grant will be dispensed directly to participants in the form of monthly reimbursements to their housing voucher rent share. Metro Housing will survey working voucher families to see how they spend money that they receive, and to determine if there is any impact on what is known as “cliff effects”.

As household income rises, a corresponding reduction in benefits makes salary increases result in static or decreased total household income. For families working to escape poverty, the specter of working harder to generate the same or less income has a discouraging effect on labor market participation. This phenomenon is known as cliff effects.

Metro Housing will partner with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Harvard Business School, and the Upjohn Institute on this initiative.

“Working families are impacted disproportionally to those that subsist off benefits alone,” says Susan Nohl, Deputy Director of Metro Housing. “This cruel cycle traps low-income residents on a plateau of subsistence, actively penalizing them for attempting to thrive. Our hope is that the data returned by this project will provide a solid foundation to advocate for meaningful change with policy-makers across all levels.”

The grant was one of 17 given to local organizations by BIDMC in support of impactful initiatives in the areas of housing affordability, jobs and financial security, and behavioral health.

“BIDMC has a proud history of supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities,” said Pete Healy, President of the medical center in a BIDMC press release. “This important milestone reflects our commitment to all the populations that we serve. We look forward to working with these impactful organizations to support programs and initiatives that lead to more equitable and healthy communities.”

“Congratulations to Metro Housing on the award and thank you to BIDMC on making the funding available for seventeen projects in the region in support of working and vulnerable households,” said Brendan Goodwin, Director of Rental Assistance, DHCD. “Stable housing is vital for healthy and safe families. We will continue investing in innovative programming, and we look forward to learning more from Metro Housing’s pilot to inform our own work.”

“Working families who receive government assistance to help afford the high cost of rent often see those benefits phase out quickly when their income increases,” said Evan Mast of Upjohn Institute and Ray Kluender of Harvard Business School. “We are excited to partner with Metro Housing Boston to study how allowing families to keep more of their wages can help them achieve financial stability and security.”

About Metro Housing|Boston

Serving more than 25,000 households annually, Metro Housing|Boston is dedicated to mobilizing wide-ranging resources to provide innovative and personalized services that assist families in avoiding homelessness, maintain housing stability, and achieve economic security. With more than 30 years’ experience piloting and implementing housing programs, it has solidified their position as an industry-leading expert on navigating the affordable housing field. Metro Housing|Boston is committed to making sure that every person in Greater Boston will always have a place to call home. Visit, , or follow on Twitter at @MetroHousingBos.

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