Mind/Body Wellness


Where cannabis is legal, residents of federally assisted housing are still prohibiting from benefiting from its sale or consumption


Host a midweek meditation series to build a community that supports mind/body wellness


30-minute meditation sessions once/week


Trauma-informed wellness programs that incorporate movement, meditation and community building

Staff and residents recognize the inequity in prohibiting cannabis consumption at Flat 9 in Boston, MA and other HUD assisted properties where cannabis is legal. Many of the communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis are prohibited from benefiting in the legal sale or consumption of it. Residents and staff wanted to change this. They brainstormed a range of ideas for a new approach to cannabis consumption and imagined a revolutionary new wellness space called The Green House.

The Green House would be a holistic response to cannabis legalization, including:

  • Community Garden: A rooftop garden and farmers’ market that would offer a range of produce

  • Health and Wellness: Meditation in the garden, connections to behavioral health and social services

  • Education: Workshops and classes on growing cannabis, types of cannabis and uses

  • Community Organizing: Training and advocacy workshops on cannabis justice

  • Social Connection: After-hours social events, concerts

In the process of envisioning The Green House, the team realized that the connection between mind and body was at the root of their idea. To learn whether it had legs, they needed to understand whether residents were even interested in engaging in mind/body wellness sponsored by property management. To test this idea, they hosted a weekly meditation space in the property’s community room. Each week they hosted a meditation, debriefed as a group and asked for feedback on the session.

Key Learning

As a result of the feedback, the team realized that physical movement was more important to resident’s mental wellness than the idea of pursuing cannabis justice. Even though their original idea was rooted in equity, they needed to prioritize the perspective and experience of the community. They also learned that residents were vocal and passionate about mind and body health in tandem.

Physical health is often a priority for resident services providers, through activities like preventative health workshops, mobile health vans or support for finding health insurance. This work is essential, but often overlooks the reality that our physical health is directly connected to our mental, emotional and spiritual health. As a result of the midweek wellness prototype, the team sought out a trauma-informed yoga instructor, trauma-informed nutrition classes and other mind/body wellness activities that support individual resilience and build a community of care.

Going forward, POAH is integrating mind/body wellness into staff meetings and trainings, such as through breathing and centering exercises and education on the connection between brain and body. Resident services staff will then be encouraged to build relationships with providers in their area who offer programs rooted in mind/body connection.

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