Brighton Marine supports uniformed services members, retirees, veterans and their families through leadership of a nationally recognized health management program providing campus-based health services, and developing and managing mixed income housing along with various veteran support services in the Greater Boston community.
Brighton Marine is the network community for uniformed service member transitions back into civilian life and a resource hub of military, veteran and family services in the Greater Boston area.
Since 1983, Brighton Marine has been a vital social service resource to the Allston-Brighton community and, to its veterans. In addition to partners located on its campus, Brighton Marine has extended its support and partnerships to multiple organizations in the City of Boston throughout the years. Whether it is assisting the effort to end veteran homelessness, empowering local youths or improving the cityscape of Brighton, Brighton Marine’s efforts have earned it a reputation as a strong community presence and trusted partner in social services.
Even as its main focus is to serve veterans and their families, this project expands on a decades-long commitment Brighton Marine and its predecessor, the U.S. Marine Hospital, has maintained to serve the needs of the Allston-Brighton community. At its campus at 77 Warren Street in Brighton, Brighton Marine hosts 10 organizations providing medical care and services for military veterans and non-military personnel. They include Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, The Home for Little Wanderers, the Addiction Treatment Center of New England and Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund. Together these organizations provide critical medical care, housing for teenagers, treatment for patients with dependency issues and other social services to about 2,700 patients and neighborhood residents per week.
The roots of Brighton Marine extend back to 1798, when John Adams was president and Congress was meeting for only the fifth time. The new nation’s leaders recognized that foreign trade was necessary to grow the economy and that healthy merchant seamen were needed to enable that commerce. So, Congress passed “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” which provided funding for the Marine Hospital Service.
Over time the Boston-area Marine Hospital Service moved from Boston Harbor, to Charlestown to Chelsea, before its final stop in Brighton in 1940. By then the Seamen and Sailors Act, as it is sometimes called, had expanded to include funding for a greater array of community services and the Marine Hospital Service had evolved into the Public Health Service which included a network of public hospitals under its umbrella.
In 1980, the Reagan Administration decided to close many of the hospitals around the country within the public hospital system, including Brighton Marine. But the service veterans who lived in the Allston-Brighton area were not ready to let it go. They formed Brighton Marine (then called the Allston-Brighton Aid and Health Group) and successfully petitioned the federal government to allow them to take over the property and continue medical services for veterans. Veteran care continued to be a priority, but Brighton Marine also operates the property for a robust list of community-oriented health care and social services tenants.
US Family Health Plan. Over the years, the medical services segment has evolved into today’s partnership with the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan (USFHP). USFHP is a TRICARE Prime military health plan sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD) that provides comprehensive care for military and retiree families. USFHP provides the full TRICARE Prime benefit including routine doctor visits, specialty care, hospitalization, urgent and emergent care, preventative health care services and prescription coverage—plus extras such as $0 to low cost eyeglass benefit, annual physical exams and discounts to fitness clubs. In addition; USFHP members have access to some of the best hospitals and physicians in the nation. For 20 consecutive years, US Family Health Plan has far surpassed the member satisfaction rates of other managed care plans in the nation.
Residences at Brighton Marine. After several years of sharing its vision, negotiating and creating partnerships, Brighton Marine has embarked on its most ambitious project to date: the development of more than 100 units of affordable housing along Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton with preference to veterans and their families. For veterans and their families, doors once closed are soon to be opened. The construction of this veterans-preference community residence might, for example, allow a veteran hired as a Boston police officer or firefighter to meet residency requirements and rent an apartment in Boston. It will allow a health care worker returning from military service who has been hired at one of Boston’s many hospitals to live close to their job. It will allow a native of Brighton who left to serve their country to come back to the neighborhood he/she loves.
Resources at Brighton Marine. The Brighton Marine vision does not end with housing. It includes the creation of a physical and virtual hub of services only a short walk from their front door. Our goal is to eliminate the challenge of finding needed services for the veteran, family member or care giver by placing access in one location. We also expect our concept of a centralized hub to create synergy and partnerships between resident organizations, allowing them to be better together.
Homeless Veterans’ Housing Fund. In August 2015, Brighton Marine established an endowment fund to assist in ending veteran homelessness. The fund is administered by Brighton Marine to fund cost gaps associated with housing veterans under the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. Disbursements made from the fund cover costs associated with housing the homeless veteran that are not covered by public funding. Some of these costs include security deposits, temporary housing costs and brokers’ fees. To date, 264 veterans have benefited by payments made on their behalf and have attained permanent housing with assistance from the Fund.
Arthur Berg Leadership Scholarship. In 2012, Brighton Marine established the Arthur Berg Leadership Scholarship, a $5,000 annual college stipend named after the former director of the facilities department. The scholarship was designed to support a growing leader in the neighboring Brighton High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program. With the school’s decision to discontinue JROTC in the 2017-2018 academic year, Brighton Marine is developing plans to continue the scholarship with Northeastern University.
Brighton Marine’s commitment to veterans is steadfast and ongoing. At Brighton Marine, we never forget the sacrifice made by those who have served.
For an interactive look at our history, please click here.