On Thursday, October 13, United Way held its 29th Annual Real Estate and Building Industry Breakfast at the Lawn on D and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the first in-person gathering for the event since 2019.
This year, the Real Estate and Building Industry Breakfast raised more than $600,000 in support of that one of United Way’s key impact areas – preventing and ending youth, young adult, and family homelessness.
There is a persistent homelessness crisis in Massachusetts and an insufficient number of affordable housing units. During the pandemic, Mass211, a United Way-funded statewide hotline that provides residents throughout the state with life-sustaining resources and information, received 68,000 calls to its housing line. And, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are just 47 affordable rental homes for every 100 low-income renters in our region.
“We’ve been assembling some of the best minds in Massachusetts across systems to address the barriers to building a region where families can access housing where they want to live,” said Bob Giannino, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley President and CEO, at the event. “Along with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance and CHAPA, we are leading a coalition to expand the pipeline of housing and supportive services for those community members our systems have failed.”
United Way remains committed to stabilizing families in safe, stable, affordable housing by investing in innovative solutions to housing insecurity that can be scaled statewide and advocating for system change including supportive housing legislation.
More than 200 industry professionals attended this year’s breakfast to help us towards that goal. At the event, attendees were able to network and connected before and following a speaking program hosted by co-chairs of the Executive Committee, Nilesh Bubna of Longpoint Realty and Tara Reilly of Elkus Manfredi Architects.
The reception featured keynote speaker Arthur Jemison, Boston Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) Director and Chief of Planning for the City of Boston, and remarks from Andy McMahon, Vice President, Community Investment and Innovation at UnitedHealthcare Community and State.
Chief Jemison spoke about his and Mayor Michelle Wu’s vision for a the BPDA and the ongoing implementation of the agency’s transformation. Jemison discussed how the city is prioritizing “affordability, equity, and resiliency in everything that we’re doing,” to develop “vibrant neighborhoods, economic activity and open spaces in every part of the city.”
McMahon spoke about housing as a social determinant of health, UnitedHealthcare’s exclusive investment in projects that have an integration of both housing and healthcare, and how the real estate industry professionals in the room collectively hold enormous influence to advance an equitable and thriving region.
Thank you to our sponsors for making this event – and its impact on our communities – possible. We can’t wait to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2023!