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A Path to A Place to Live: The Blueprint


Thank you to everyone who joined us for the webinar! You can watch the recording on our YouTube channel!


On June 9, 2021, MHSA hosted a webinar about our latest endeavor to increase housing inventory by bringing innovative housing models to scale across the Commonwealth for medically complex people experiencing recurrent or long-term homelessness, and the process and planning of embracing micro-units to end homelessness.

‘A Path to A Place to Live: The Blueprint’ featured insights from key decision-makers and experts who inspired the state’s first modular constructed housing for medically complex people with recurrent or long-term homelessness, and how it is becoming a reality. We discussed the goals of A Place to Live and what we hope to achieve through modular construction and other alternative housing solutions, the perspectives of local leadership and collaboration process across partners to achieve this success, and the road ahead to realize our vision.

MHSA President & Executive Director, Joe Finn, joined concept designer Marc Margulies, Principal and Senior Partner of Margulies Perruzzi Architects; Alex Corrales, CEO of Worcester Housing Authority (WHA); and Jim Cuddy, Executive Director of South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) in a virtual discussion about the inspiration behind this concept, the importance of new housing solutions, and how both WHA and SMOC are embracing modular construction to end homelessness. The panel was moderated by Calpurnyia Roberts, PhD, MHSA’s Director of A Place to Live.

About the Speakers

alex Corrales

Alex Corrales Headshot

Alex Corrales is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA).  The WHA is the 2nd largest housing authority in New England, responsible for almost 3000 apartments and 4300 vouchers serving over 15,000 residents.  Alex began working in the public housing industry over 24 years ago.

Currently, the WHA is the only authority in New England that has implemented a work/school requirement for all state-aided residents as a condition of their tenancy.  These residents participate in a case management program called A Better Life that is designed to assist families reach self-sufficiency.   The program has been so successful in helping residents improve their education, employment, financial status and home ownership opportunities that the Commonwealth has decided to implement it in a number of other communities.

Most recently, Alex and the WHA purchased the former Reliant building at 630 Plantation Street to serve as the agency’s new headquarters.  The site is scheduled to open in Fall 2021.  Additionally, Alex is working closely with the City and local partners to build housing to help the chronically homeless population for a program called, A Place To Live.

Jim Cuddy

Jim Cuddy

Jim Cuddy has been the Executive Director of SMOC for 35 years. The mission of SMOC is to improve the quality of life of low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families by advocating for their needs and rights; providing services; educating the community; building a community of support; participating in coalitions with other advocates and searching for new resources and partnerships. In Worcester, South Middlesex Opportunity Council is partnering with the Greater Worcester Housing Connection to build permanent, single-person housing with attached services specifically for people who are experiencing homelessness.

Marc Margulies

Marc Margulies Headshot

Since founding the firm in 1988, Marc has built Margulies Perruzzi into an award-winning architecture and interior design firm, with a wide range of Workplace, Healthcare, Science, and Real Estate Development clients. For more than three decades, MP’s reputation and size has grown steadily and purposefully to one of the largest and most respected design firms in Boston. Before starting MP, Marc was responsible for all corporate architectural design, field office design and project management for Fidelity Investments from 1983 through 1988.

A recipient of numerous design, industry, and community service awards, Marc has become recognized for his leadership in real estate industry-related organizations. He founded the IFMA Boston Chapter and continues to be on the Boards of CoreNet and NAIOP. He was also named Collaborating Professional of the year by the Commercial Broker’s Association (CBA). In addition to his professional focus, Marc’s community and philanthropic endeavors includes Chair of the Town of Weston Zoning Board of Appeals where he served on the ZBA for 12 years, Chair of Boston’s South Bay Planning Study Task Force, President of the Wharf District Council, and a strong supporter of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, CANstruction, and the United Way. He also chaired the Board of Heading Home following 15 years on the board, where he led the design of five homeless shelters.

Joe Finn

Joe Finn headshot

Joe has worked on homelessness issues for over 30 years, serving as executive director of Shelter, Inc. (now Heading Home) in Cambridge and Quincy Interfaith Sheltering Coalition (now Father Bill’s & MainSpring) prior to joining MHSA in 2003. He concentrates on the expansion of permanent supportive housing opportunities for individuals, including people experiencing chronic homelessness – the most expensive and disabled segment of the homeless population.

Joe is a 1978 graduate of Siena College. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Washington Theological Union, a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research, a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law, and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Bentley College. Joe also served as a City Councilor for the City of Quincy. Joe and his wife Dolores McIlmail have seven children.

Moderator: Calpurnyia Roberts, PhD

Calpurnyia Roberts headshot

Calpurnyia Roberts, PhD, is Director of A Place to Live, a new initiative at MHSA that will advocate for new models to house medically complex people experiencing recurrent or long-term homelessness. Before arriving at MHSA, Calpurnyia led Rising Together, a coordinated effort among Boston’s lead organizations on youth homelessness to improve job outcomes for young people in need of housing. She has more than a decade of experience in launching, coordinating, and evaluating public health programs with an equity-infused lens to improve outcomes for marginalized populations. Calpurnyia graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology and Human Biology from Emory University. She received a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively.

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