Mattapan is a neighborhood characterized by sharp juxtapositions between unmet need and dynamic potential. It is a culturally rich community: 77% Black/African-American, 4% White, 13% Hispanic, and 4% Multi-racial. Within the Black/African-American population, there are residents from approximately 21 African nations and a substantial Haitian-American population.
However, there are also substantial public health concerns: 68% of Mattapan residents are overweight or obese and the diabetes mortality rate is 74.4% higher than the City of Boston. These health outcomes, coupled with high poverty rates, rising crime, and one of the highest foreclosure rates in Boston lead to community facing several pressures.
In the face of these challenges, Mattapan United, a new coalition of community partners has formed and is ready to address these issues as a collective unit. This coalition has stressed transparency and unity, understanding that working together is the only way to effectively tackle these challenges.
The Massachusetts Audubon Society/Boston Nature Center offers environmental education programs to elementary school students and there are two miles of trails where wildlife, including birds, coyotes and pheasants, abounds.
The Mattapan Food and Fitness coalition promotes access to healthy food for Mattapan residents and runs projects aimed at improving public health including The Mattapan Farmers Market and Mattapan Moving For Life.
The Fairmount Commuter Rail line project will significantly impact Mattapan: the Morton Street stop will be repaired and a new stop will be build at Cummins Highway. The news stop will spark the development of multi-use buildings and transit-oriented housing and help create a vibrant corridor in the heart of the neighborhood.
The Mattapan Branch of the Boston Public Library is a $16.7 million facility and is the first new public library in Mattapan since 1932. It is the most technologically advanced of all Boston Public Library branches with 30 computers available and several wide-screen televisions.
The Mattapan Community Health Center serves 7,000 annually and has three major initiatives to decrease health care disparities: Rock the Boat, a fundraising gala; Vitamin D Awareness, an initiative to increase primary care and preventative health services; and Health Care Revival, a faith-based, data-driven outreach initiative.