MHSA Annual Meeting Features Special Guests, Including Former New England Patriots Player Jerod Mayo

December 14, 2016

For more information, contact:
Caitlin Golden, 617-367-6447 ext. 28


MHSA honors Secretary Marylou Sudders, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Timothy Driscoll of South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC)

BOSTON, Mass. – The Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA) honored Secretary Marylou Sudders, Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Timothy Driscoll of South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) at the 2016 MHSA Annual Meeting. The event was held on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the Boston College Club in Boston. The Annual Meeting included a special announcement by Bernadette Di Re, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Massachusetts, who presented a $1.7 million partnership grant from United Health Foundation for the new Hospital to Housing initiative. Former New England Patriot Jerod Mayo, Senior Vice President, Business Development of UnitedHealth Group’s Optum business, was also on hand to present the “Ed O’Neil Award.”

“I am grateful for the extraordinary dedication to ending homelessness demonstrated by Secretary Sudders, Timothy Driscoll and United Health Foundation,” said Joe Finn, MHSA President & Executive Director. “MHSA is honored to work alongside them and our partners across the Commonwealth to implement innovative solutions that link housing and health care for people experiencing homelessness.”

MHSA awarded the “Canon Brian S. Kelley Public Servant Award” to Secretary Marylou Sudders for her leadership in the Commonwealth’s efforts to move toward Medicaid sustainability; her commitment to expanding the Community Support Program for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness (CSPECH) as a critical benefit for supporting housing for people with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness; and her dedication to housing throughout her career. Steven Kadish, Chief of Staff, Executive Office of the Governor, accepted the award on Secretary Sudders’ behalf.

MHSA presented the fifth annual “Ed O’Neil Award” to Timothy Driscoll, Program Supervisor of the Young Adult Residential Case Management Program (YARCM) at South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC). The “Ed O’Neil Award” honors an exceptional direct care worker from a MHSA member agency who has demonstrated a strong commitment to ending homelessness. Mayo joined Rosalie O’Neil, wife of the late Ed O’Neil, and representatives from SMOC for the presentation of the award.

The event concluded with a special presentation from United Health Foundation. Di Re announced that MHSA will receive a $1.7 million partnership grant for a new initiative, Hospital to Housing. MHSA is partnering with Beacon Health Options/Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) on this initiative, which is aimed at identifying and housing adults experiencing homelessness who have serious mental illness and a history of frequent behavioral health hospitalizations. Beacon and MBHP are responsible for managing a comprehensive network of behavioral health providers who serve people enrolled in the Massachusetts Medicaid program.

“The keys to good long-term health include availability and access to safe and affordable housing, as well as access to quality, affordable health care,” said Di Re. “Through United Health Foundation’s grant, MHSA is providing much-needed funding to local organizations that are linking health care and housing, and finding solutions to ending homelessness in the Commonwealth.”

The Hospital to Housing program is unique in that it will build relationships between Beacon/MBHP and permanent supportive housing providers through the introduction of five community health workers (CHWs), who will work with the Boston Public Health Commission in Greater Boston, ServiceNet in Western Massachusetts and South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) in Lowell and the Merrimack Valley. The CHWs will identify Beacon/MBHP members who are experiencing homelessness and are eligible for participation in the program; and assist them with accessing permanent housing, behavioral health and primary care, and other resources. They also will provide support to formerly homeless individuals who have already been placed into housing. The program’s goals include reducing hospitalizations and improving the health of participants. MHSA and Beacon/MBHP will collaborate to evaluate the impact of the program and report on cost savings, changes in service utilization and other measures.

“For years, the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership and Beacon Health Options have firmly believed that housing is one of the most effective health care interventions,” said Carol Kress, Vice President, Client Partnerships, MBHP. “We are proud of our longstanding partnership with MHSA and are thrilled to work with them on the innovative Hospital to Housing initiative that will improve the health of our most vulnerable members by providing them with what they need most – a permanent place to live.”

United Health Foundation also presented two “welcome home” baskets as part of a donation of 35 baskets for recently housed individuals. The baskets included household items such as dishes, linens and other home furnishings to welcome people who have experienced homelessness into their new homes.

The Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance (MHSA) is a nonprofit, public policy advocacy organization with the mission of ending homelessness in Massachusetts. MHSA membership includes nearly 100 community-based agencies statewide. For more information, visit


View the PDF version of the press release.