Deborah Hughes, President and CEO of Brookview House, an independent, nonprofit organization for women and children in homeless families, was among more than 100 recipients of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 14th Annual Unsung Heroines Awards. Each year the Commission gathers nominations from across the state for women who make outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities. The honorees are nominated by state legislators in their districts as a means of recognizing women for their previously unnoted, yet valuable community contributions.
Based in Dorchester, Brookview House not only provides homeless women and their children with a safe place to live but support services and programs that confront the root causes of homelessness and transform lives. Brookview’s innovative, two-generational approach prepares families for stability and independence and empowers them to be a voice in the community through civic engagement.
Recognized nationally for its innovation and success, 92% of mothers who have lived at Brookview maintain permanent housing after leaving, and 88% (vs. 25% nationally) of the children who participate in Brookview’s youth programs graduate high school.
Deborah has been at the helm of Brookview since 1991. During her tenure, it has expanded into a multi-service agency developing affordable housing and on-site adult and youth services programs to 350 homeless and at-risk moms and children every year. Deborah is a founding member of Transition to Work Collaborative, Child Resource Collaborative, and Dorchester Women’s Safety Network. Prior to Brookview, Deborah was a co-founder of the Jane Doe Safety Fund, a statewide advocacy agency for domestic violence programs in Massachusetts.
Brookview’s success has led to recent grants of $1.8 million from the state and $1.3 million from the City of Boston to construct a third affordable housing building with twelve units, bringing its total number of units to sixty. The building, which will be known as “Brookview III” will be built on Hansborough Street near Blue Hill Avenue and is expected to be completed in 2018.
The Unsung Heroines Award
The Unsung Heroines Award recognizes women who don’t always make the news but truly make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities, and towns. They are mentors, volunteers, and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community has them.