Hearth's Strategic Plan 2019 - 2023

Hearth is poised for growth that will lead to significant impact and progress toward our goal of ending homelessness for older adults. The following four strategic goals will, taken together, serve both as a map toward that end and a measuring stick of our progress over the next five years.

Goal One maps a path toward addressing the immediate and urgent need to house those elders currently homeless or at imminent risk of becoming so. There are approximately 4000 seniors 50 and over in Boston who experienced homelessness in 2018, and a much larger number of older adults at serious risk:

  • 30% of baby boomers nationally have nothing saved for retirement (Stanford Center 2018)

  • The Elder Economic Security Index found Massachusetts to have the second largest gap between average senior income and the cost of living

  • Under-funding of Massachusetts behavioral health system has kept the Department of Mental Health from meeting the growing demand for its services (Ready for Reform: Behavioral Health Care in Massachusetts);

  • Despite many improvements in the changing health care system, individuals may have chronic health problems or substance misuse issues that precipitate their homelessness;

  • While nearly anyone could lack the financial and social resources to maintain or secure a home, for those who face poverty, or prejudice, or violence or serious illness the challenges increase.

Goal Two maps a path for addressing the public policy challenges contributing to elder homelessness. Hearth acknowledges that our direct efforts alone will never succeed without changes in public awareness and increases in public funding for affordable housing and supportive services. More advocacy will require increased investment of resources to advocate for increased funding for housing construction, direct subsidies like Section 8, and supportive services subsidies.

Goal Three maps a path toward ensuring that Hearth will be financially able to thrive even with reduced public funding, and to improve the quality of services and supports for residents and clients. To increase efficacy and efficiency, we need:

  • to find new government backed revenue sources and to maximize the current sources;

  • to continuously assess resident/client needs and support requirements;

  • ·         to develop more effective business processes;

  • ·         to make “figuring out how to do more with less” part of our culture.

To improve fundraising, Hearth needs both more generous supporters and better name recognition. We need to attract a significant number of new donors, particularly younger donors, minority donors, donors with deeper capacity, and donors with wide networks of friends, family and colleagues, and to cultivate, sustain, and engage the broader community in our work (marketing our brand).

Goal Four maps a path to ensure the vitality of our governance team, leadership, and workforce. As Hearth expands and evolves, we must be open to change program design, organizational structure and culture while staying true to our mission. To remain a healthy, growing and flexible place, all staff must feel valued and understand their personal relationship to fulfilling our mission. Hearth must also actively nurture and sustain a focus on diversity and inclusion for staff and board. The success of Hearth’s future will rely on investments to maintain an engaged and dedicated staff and board. We will also:

  • identify leadership and potential leadership within our current staff and current Board;

  • evaluate organizational strengths and weaknesses and identify gaps including gaps in staff and board diversity;

  • actively generate new leads, prospects, and potential candidates that can ensure the smooth transition of power as Hearth evolves over time;

  • foster a strategic approach to human capital development which requires investing in a broad range of supports for staff as well as Board with training, compensation, benefits, and performance evaluation.

  • commit to providing Hearth staff with a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

 We aim to maintain and enhance Hearth’s role as the leader in ending elder homelessness.

Goal 1

Double our direct impact: Increase homeless and at-risk older adults served annually from 500 to 1000 by 2023

  • Objective 1.1 Maintain and expand Hearth Housing from 188 units to 350 units by 2023

  • Objective 1.2 Increase and enhance Outreach Services, Placements & Stabilization to 400 by 2023.

  • Objective 1.3 Identify and investigate opportunities for growth in direct housing units through affiliation and partnership.

Goal 2

Maximize impact toward mission of Ending Elder Homelessness through local, state, and federal advocacy

  • Objective 2.1 Create a Mission and Vision Review Task Force by 2019

  • Objective 2.2 At all levels: Evaluate (2019) and Implement (Ongoing) methods and means to increase local “visibility” of Hearth including engaging staff, Board of Directors and Board of Visitors in this effort: 2019

  • Objective 2.3 At the local level: Maintain and deepen positive relationships with Greater Boston elected and appointed officials and departments as well as community partners.

  • Objective 2.4 At the state level: Plan and implement strategy to thrive in the changing health care landscape, particularly the increasing focus on Social Determinants of Health by 2020

  • Objective 2.5 At the national level: Continue participation in National Leadership Initiative

Goal 3

Ensuring long term sustainability and efficacy of Hearth services and operations

  • Objective 3.1 Improve financial sustainability while improving program quality

  • Objective 3.2 Provide optimal client service

  • Objective 3.3 Significantly increase funding through Institutional Advancement

  • Objective 3.4 Maintain and grow donor base


Invest thoughtfully in Human Capital Development

  • Objective 4.1 Implement plan for Board of Directors development & succession

  • Objective 4.2 Develop and maintain succession plans for all members of Executive Team

  • Objective 4.3 Support a culture that drives performance and provides career paths for staff