Boston, MA, May 18, 2023 – Eastern Bank Foundation today announced that it has recognized, Aaron Gornstein, President & CEO of the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), with a 2023 Community Advocacy Award and award grant for his organization’s important role in growing and protecting affordable housing in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Twelve honorees in total from Greater Boston, New Hampshire, the North & South Shores, Merrimack Valley and Cape Cod came together at Eastern Bank headquarters for an afternoon of celebration and a roundtable.
Each year the Foundation honors a few of the many inspirational people and nonprofits working to address the most critical needs across the communities Eastern serves with the award. This year the focus was on affordable housing, one of the core strategy areas of the Foundation’s commitment to expanding economic inclusion and mobility. See full honoree information here.
The dynamic roundtable covered many aspects of the affordable housing picture including zoning, access to capital, the key role of grassroots organizations, the importance of business leaders advocating for change, and the significance of philanthropy in partnering for innovative solutions for today’s complex challenges. Honorees also discussed how systemic inequities such as high childcare costs, low wages, gaps in education, and racial injustice intersect with the affordable housing issue as a whole.
POAH acquires and rescues at-risk affordable housing so it can remain attainable and provide healthy homes that support economic security, racial equity, and access to opportunity in perpetuity. Neighborhood redevelopments such as the Whittier Street public housing in Boston and Clarendon Hill Apartments in Somerville are also in its wheelhouse to revitalize distressed affordable housing areas. With over 4,800 units across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, they run one of the country’s largest Family Self-Sufficiency Programs to help their residents build income and assets. They are also expanding technology access with high-speed low-cost internet access and providing environmentally friendly unit design and operation.
Commenting on the honor, grant and conversation with his peers, Gornstein said, “In 2021 the median renter household making less than $30K a year had $380 left over after paying rent – that’s the lowest amount in over 20 years. The work that POAH and my fellow Community Advocacy Award honorees are doing across the region is critical as more and more people are living with housing and financial insecurity. I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of my team and appreciate Eastern Bank’s dedication to helping nonprofits tackle the growing need for affordable housing in our region.”
Nancy Huntington Stager, President & CEO of Eastern Bank Foundation, added, “Affordable housing is essential for full participation in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods but is unfortunately out of reach or insecure for far too many people in our region as the housing crisis worsens. It’s more important than ever to spotlight work that is making a difference and to collaborate on solutions. We applaud Aaron, the Preservation of Affordable Housing and all our 2023 Community Advocacy Awards honorees for their innovative, barrier-breaking work.”