In June 2011, the Allston Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force applied for and received funding to conduct a community assessment process through the Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH). The Task Force sought to explore the impact of a number of community health issues in Allston Brighton, (including but not limited to substance abuse prevention), and actively recruited new representatives from various sectors of the community. This wider group came to be known as the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative.
Data collected through the community assessment process found a lack of community cohesion with limited interaction between organizations and a lack of shared community pride and/or knowledge of local resources. Additionally, community members discussed the impact of the built environment on physical activity. Residents described a lack of access to adequate green space as well as difficulty for pedestrians and cyclists in accessing the Charles River and downtown Boston. Participants also talked about their lack of access to healthy and convenient foods.
In 2013, Determination of Need (DON) funds from St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center were earmarked to build infrastructure to support the newly-formed Allston Brighton Health Collaborative. The funds were allocated for five years of general operating support, and an additional 2016 DON earmarked funds through 2020. The collaborative hired a Coordinator in 2014, and this position transitioned to full-time Director in 2019. ABHC hired its first Food Access Coordinator in 2021.