Fostering Collaboration to Make a Family’s Home Healthier and Safer

San Antonio

Fostering Collaboration to Make a Family’s Home Healthier and Safer

Challenge
Yolanda is a single mother with two children ages 5 and 13, working a full time job in the medical field. She signed up for as many extra hours as possible to make ends meet and ensure bills were paid. Her family lives in a modest, two-bedroom single family home built in 1926, which was in major disrepair. Yolanda could simply not afford to complete any of the much needed repairs or address the chipping, peeling paint many lead hazards identified. Their utility bills were above average because of uninsulated exterior walls, drafty wooden sash windows, broken window panes and a leaky roof. The drafts combined with a rusty, leaky, gas supplied water heater made it impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature. The heater also had no vent pipe to the exterior, presenting a major carbon monoxide hazard.

She found out about the City of San Antonio’s Green and Healthy Homes Program (GHHI San Antonio) through a neighborhood canvassing effort by Family Services Association (FSA), which employs the program’s Promotoras (Program Promoters). FSA is a subgrantee paid directly from HUD’s Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant and Healthy Homes Production grant. The Promotoras are hired to canvas target neighborhoods and assist homeowners with completing program applications. Without the Promotoras, Yolanda may not have heard about the program and would not have received assistance filling out and submitting her application.

Solution
San Antonio’s Green and Healthy Homes Program used HUD Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration funds, Healthy Homes Production funds and CDBG matching funds through Grants Monitoring Administration to address the home’s health and safety hazards. The funds provided for a full lead inspection and risk assessment to identify lead-based paint hazards and the Healthy Homes Rating System (HHRS) to identify health and safety issues. A scope of work was then compiled from these two assessments, and repairs from most to least importance were corrected. The repairs included replacement of the existing water heater, paint stabilization of lead-based paint hazards, replacement of lead-based paint identified wooden sash windows and repairing the roof leak. In addition to this, the family was assisted by the Casa Verde Weatherization Program administered by the local utility company City Public Service Energy that provided exterior wall insulation, solar screens, attic insulation, weather-stripping and caulking.

Impact
By collaborating with Family Service Association, HUDs Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, Grants Monitoring Administration (City of San Antonio) and Casa Verde, the program was able to eliminate all lead-based paint hazards, correct health and safety issues and make the home more energy efficient. Yolanda’s family now has a healthier, more comfortable and safe place to call home. The children are no longer at risk for lead poisoning.

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Compact was signed in San Antonio in October 2012. Partners in this work include: Family Service Association, University of Texas Health Science Center, City Public Service’s Casa Verde, San Antonio Housing Authority, Theo Avenue Baptist Church, San Antonio Fire Department, Head Start and AVANCE.