The Healthy Hill Initiative​ is: 

  • Creating an aligned multi-sector planning committee​
  • Developing a grocery store​
  • Engaging and training residents ​
  • Utilizing data to make informed strategies​

Key Partners

  • HAPHousing​
  • Baystate Health System​
  • Sisters of Providence Health System​
  • Springfield Department of Health and Human Services​

In partnership with:

  • Partners for a Healthier Community ​
  • Develop Springfield​
  • Mason Square Health Task Force ​
  • Gardening the Community​
  • Revitalize CDC​
  • Springfield Police Department and the Department of Housing​
  • ​Mason Square Drug-Free Coalition​
  • Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition Healthy Housing Initiative​
  • Old Hill Neighborhood Council​
  • The Martin Luther King Community Center​
  • The Brookings School​

Obstacles to Health and Identified Health Challenges

  • Poverty and unemployment
  • Blighted and substandard housing
  • Food desert
  • Obesity
  • High rates of mental health hospitalization
  • High teen birth rates, infant mortality, childhood asthma

Background

Healthy Hill Initiative is centered on the Old Hill neighborhood of Springfield, Massachusetts. Historically a home to many African-Americans, Old Hill is now primarily composed of African-American and Hispanic populations. There are high rates of poverty, unemployment, and foreclosures. Furthermore, substandard and aged housing have shown a direct negative link to resident’s health conditions. Old Hill is also considered a food desert, as there is no grocery store. Additionally, due to low opportunity,  the threat of crime and gun violence impacts physical and mental health.  ​ ​

HAPHousing and its partners seek to capitalize on the current resources available in Old Hill, improving the existing structures that are underutilized, and expand upon those that are successful. The BUILD Health grant will be used primarily to assess the most pressing needs and the immediate course of action. To this end, Healthy Hill is bringing together community residents and champions from six sectors: food justice, housing and neighborhood revitalization, youth engagement and education, workforce and job training, public safety, and public health / health care / health data. ​

The Healthy Hill Initiative will expand upon and accelerate several efforts currently under way in Old Hill: housing remediation to address asthma, re-purposing vacant parcels as community green space, community gardens to engage youth leaders and provide fresh food, substance abuse prevention coalitions and more.​