CLT’s mission is to provide affordable housing and supportive services to the most vulnerable individuals and families in Massachusetts in order to prevent homelessness, rebuild lives, and preserve neighborhoods.
Commonwealth Land Trust (CLT) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 1985 as a development agency to preserve affordable housing during the booming real estate market of the 1980s. Amid the HIV/AIDS crisis, crack epidemic, and escalating rates of homelessness in the Greater Boston area, CLT identified a clear and urgent need to house and support those trapped in a cycle of homelessness. In the early 1990s, CLT began offering on-site medical case management services and transitioned into Permanent Supportive Housing to reach Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents with a comprehensive solution to their needs.
CLT’s values and standards are essential to our day-to-day work.
Compassion, Care and Self-Care
CLT staff interact on a daily basis with a highly diverse and often at-risk population of individuals, many of whom are formerly homeless and/or have serious mental health challenges or barriers to success in our programs. It is critical that we see our clients and residents with mutual respect and are sensitive to the situations that brought them to us. Compassion and mutual respect are values we share as a team.
CLT cares about its employees’ physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is vital for our staff to practice self-care, including steps to steps to support nutrition, sleep hygiene, social support, physical activity, mental health, spirituality, medical services, education, and growth opportunities, among others. Supervisors and CLT policy encourage self-care. CLT offers an employee assistance program (EAP) to all employees and clinical supervision to direct care staff. CLT aims to create a respectful and supportive environment for staff and clients.
Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
CLT recognizes and affirms that institutional and structural racism play a critical role in determining who is at risk for homelessness, what risk factors are exacerbated, how long someone might stay on the streets, available supports, additional burdens, substance use history, relationship to mental health supports, and so many other steps along the way. Other identities such as sex, gender, gender identity, and immigration status can also greatly affect one’s experience of racism and relative privilege. For these reasons, CLT tries to center racial equity in our work, diversity in our staff, and inclusion in our decision-making.
CLT aims to deliver culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services by hiring team members from diverse backgrounds, many of whom are bilingual/ bicultural. We also have staff with lived experience similar to the clients we serve. Staff receive annual training in cultural competency and other targeted supports. CLT aims to expand advancement opportunities, provide relevant trainings, enhance the skills of all staff, and create career paths that promote staff satisfaction and inclusion.
Safety, Community and Effective Communication
A continued focus on safety is vital to CLT’s successful day-to-day operations. CLT has a process to document lease violations and safety concerns. Staff communicate safety issues to the CLT leadership team through “Incident Reports.” These reports and other safety issues are discussed at regular “Safety Committee” meetings and other internal formats as appropriate. CLT staff should make sure to document all incidents that create a safety concern and/or speak with their supervisor as needed. If you are unsure what your responsibilities and reporting requirements might be, ask your supervisor.
Teamwork and Cooperation
CLT cannot be successful without teamwork and cooperation among staff. Staff share information, collaborate with staff within and outside of CLT, and act with transparency, honesty and professionalism. It is expected that staff will communicate regularly and openly, in a helpful and collaborative manner, so the team can jointly ensure residents are stabilized in housing and working on improving their lives. This may involve checking in with CLT staff in different departments, partner agencies, or other individuals who may be involved with clients. Remember that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Quality and Professionalism
Do your work well. Act with responsiveness, timeliness, and efficiency. Maintain professional standards. Make sure data entry and paperwork are complete and accurate. Document incidents with the necessary detail. Think about your actions to make sure you are acting to advance the mission or in the best interest of our residents, with compassion and mutual respect. Use good judgment. If you need additional resources, guidance, training or support, please talk to your supervisor so we can work together to address any issues or needs.
CLT is a mission-driven organization that aims to create and operate housing and services for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Making a difference in the lives of our residents, strengthening our communities and building up our team members are positive and rewarding activities. We are fortunate to operate in a space where our work matters. Our efforts should make each team member feel good about their personal contribution to a strong cause and a worthy mission.