Building Healthy Communities One Neighborhood at a Time
For a neighborhood to truly thrive, it needs healthy people, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy with opportunities for all.
CLF in Action
Recognizing the complex challenges of building healthy and sustainable communities, CLF Ventures and the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) partnered to create the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund. The Fund focuses on bringing new sources of capital to mixed-use, mixed-income real estate projects that can catalyze the creation of healthy neighborhoods.
The Fund prioritizes projects with the greatest potential to bring lasting benefits to residents – quality housing across income levels, job opportunities, better health – while also delivering returns for investors. The Fund is almost fully invested in a portfolio of projects in Greater Boston that will create more than 550 units of energy-efficient housing and 150 jobs close to transit. These investments are advancing the communities’ own vision for their future while improving the lives of thousands of people.
MHIC and CLF are also piloting a Healthy Retail and Commerce Fund that combines investments from hospitals, health systems, and foundations to support businesses that will create new jobs, improve food access and affordability, and bring new economic vitality to communities.
What’s at Stake
In the United States, your zip code is a powerful predictor of how long you live. In Boston, neighborhoods just two miles apart have a difference of more than years in life expectancy. Many factors contribute to these differences, including historic policies like redlining and racial segregation, along with substandard housing, air pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of access to jobs, healthy food, and green space.
Transportation, land use, and buildings also make up a large share of total carbon emissions. In Massachusetts, the transportation and residential sectors alone make up two-thirds of all emissions. Changing the conditions in which we live, work, play, and move around is critical to tackling climate change and improving people’s health.
At the same time, traditional sources of funding for development are drying up, making the vision of such healthy communities harder to realize. The costs of doing nothing – soaring healthcare costs, high jobless rates, and increased carbon pollution among them – are too high to ignore and are felt most keenly in our low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund seeks to fill that financing gap and catalyze the creation of healthy neighborhoods.