Special to the Journal
Three leaders in the effort to end homelessness were recently honored by the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance (MHSA) at its annual Home for Good fundraiser and award ceremony at WBUR’s CitySpace on Thursday, May 11. During the Home for Good 2023 event, MHSA recognized Representative Aaron Michlewitz, House Ways & Means Chair (Democrat – 3rd Suffolk District), real estate entrepreneur James V. D’Amico, Jr. of Century 21 North East and NewFed Mortgage, and Dr. Danna Mauch, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH), for their efforts to end homelessness in the Commonwealth.
• House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz was the recipient of the Canon Brian S. Kelley Public Servant Award. Chair Michlewitz was born, raised and lives in Boston’s historic North End, part of the district he proudly represents today. A graduate of Northeastern University, Chair Michlewitz is widely recognized as an active and engaged ally of those experiencing homelessness and a strong partner of the nonprofit community organizations that serve this vulnerable population. Like Canon Kelley, Chair Michlewitz has worked tirelessly to create a more just and equitable Commonwealth.
• James V. D’Amico, Jr. received the Bob Ray Partnership Award which recognizes people who apply business principles to ending homelessness. D’Amico first joined forces with MHSA in 2008 with the launch of its permanent supportive housing program, Journey to Success, which sought out landlords in Chelsea and Revere to lease apartments to MHSA for individuals with disabling conditions experiencing long-term homelessness. He recently has worked in partnership with MHSA and Bay Cove Human Services to renovate his property in Chelsea to provide expanded and improved permanent housing and supportive services.
• Danna Mauch, Ph.D., was presented with the Rep. Byron Rushing Commitment to Housing Award, which acknowledges people and organizations working to provide innovative alternatives to homelessness. Dr. Mauch is dedicated to the MAMH mission – eliminating stigma and discrimination to ensure full social, economic, and political inclusion for people at risk for or living with behavioral health conditions. Her advocacy has resulted in housing resources and services for those coping with mental illness, resulting in fewer people falling into homelessness. By focusing on best practices in housing, she has helped create safe havens for those experiencing homelessness.
“Our 2023 honorees have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us,” said Joyce Tavon, MHSA Chief Executive Officer. “Their commitment to social justice, equity, and innovation in housing is unwavering. We value their persistence and their partnership and recognize Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Danna Mauch, and Jim D’Amico for their service.”