Access: The TAC Blog

Leading experts report from the intersection of affordable housing, health care, and human services policy.

News, Resources, and Happenings at TAC: July 2017

Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017
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Lisa Jones, Kayla Wilson, and Silvaria DeSilva, recipients of the 2017 TAC Scholarship Award. Photo: Rachel Banderob
Congratulations to the recipients of TAC's 2017 Day-O'Hara Scholarship Award -- and a new TAC training to help behavioral health providers create and sustain successful peer support programs.

TAC Scholarship Helps Launch a Teacher, a Social Worker, a Nurse, and a Chef

We are delighted to introduce this year’s recipients of the second annual Day-O'Hara Community Integration Scholarship. This cash award, given in honor of TAC co-founders Steve Day and Ann O'Hara, is intended to help individuals with disabilities in the Greater Boston area to realize their educational and professional goals.

Eddie Shields is currently employed as a teacher’s assistant and was referred to us through the Boston Center for Independent Living. He will use the scholarship money towards courses to obtain his Associate’s Degree in early childhood education.

Kayla Wilson is a Long-term Support Services Coordinator at the Boston Center for Independent Living. Kayla has discovered that her true passion is to assist individuals from both the medical and social points of view simultaneously, and plans to use the scholarship money towards prerequisite courses for nursing programs.

For two years, Lisa Jones has volunteered weekly to serve meals to elders in need. Lisa was referred to us by the Transformation Center, and will use the scholarship money for a post-bachelors program in gerontology — moving her closer to her goal of attaining a Master’s degree in social work or human services so that she can work in a wraparound program to help elders stay in their own homes.

Silvaria DeSilva has a background in nursing, but has recently discovered a love for cooking. She recently graduated from Pine Street Inn’s food service training program, and will use the scholarship money for cooking classes and to buy the supplies and materials she’ll need as a professional chef or caterer.

Best of luck to all, and thanks to the partner organizations that helped us connect with these inspiring individuals!

Successfully Employing and Financing Peer Specialists in Behavioral Health

The inclusion of peer providers on behavioral health care teams can significantly improve client engagement and outcomes, including symptom reduction, improved self-esteem, and community integration. Yet behavioral health providers sometimes struggle to maintain a strong peer workforce — leading to diminished productivity and increased stress for all staff. In TAC’s new training for behavioral health providers, managed care organizations, and state/county behavioral health authorities, participants will learn how to introduce appropriate supports and key shifts in workplace culture to promote both peer job success and stronger organizations overall.

TAC Staff in Action

Staff Activities

In June, Managing Director Marie Herb and Senior Associate Gina Schaak served as volunteer “Ambassadors” at Boston’s Third Surge to End Chronic Homelessness (read all about it!); TAC Associate Ashley Mann-McLellan presented on “Using Data to Improve Outcomes and HUD’s System Performance Measures” at the All Home Annual Conference in Seattle, WA; Kevin Martone, Executive Director, recorded a webinar for Foothold Technology on "Navigating the World of Medicaid for Supportive Housing Services"; and at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans conference, TAC Associate Douglas Tetrault co-presented with our partners from Abt Associates on how to assess the components of a crisis response system and develop improvement strategies.