GHHI Travel Blog: Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Richmond

This summer has been busy and exciting for GHHI!  We have been honored to meet with elected officials and community leaders taking clear action to rid their communities of lead. Since the revelations of lead poisoning in Flint, Pittsburgh has re-committed itself to the fight to eradicate lead in the city and surrounding county. In late July, GHHI joined Pittsburgh as it became the 19th city to sign a compact to commit to improving housing in the region through a city, county and non-profit partnership. The compact is a tangible sign of support from the Pittsburgh community, local service providers, agency leaders, and local elected officials. Together, they are working on a comprehensive and streamlined program of services that will help keep homes safe and healthy for families.
One partner organization, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, is engaging its more than 25,000 member network of volunteers to help GHHI modify homes. GHHI also works with local nonprofits like Conservation Consultants, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Nazareth Housing Services, the Homewood Children’s Village, and Women for a Healthier Environment.  In a press conference, Mayor Bill Peduto promised to find funding to sustain the program and said, “as we look to creating new opportunities in home ownership, we look to make sure that those homes are not only energy efficient, but healthy for the families that will be living there.”
Several cities across the country are also taking the important first step to rid their communities of lead, and earlier this summer, GHHI also met with officials in Richmond and Memphis as they learned more about programs to make homes healthy.
In Richmond, Virginia, GHHI met with Mayor Levar Stoney and partners in the Learning Network. GHHI’s Learning Network is made up of a variety of teams that help coordinate services and prepare cities for success when they sign on to GHHI’s program. Mayor Stoney expressed his enthusiasm for building a healthier and safer city and community. 
In Memphis, Tennessee, GHHI met with more than 50 people representing at least 30 organizations, including LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and the Memphis Medical Legal Partnership as well as city and Shelby County officials. At the meeting, GHHI discussed how to implement its model to help decrease emergency room visits, doctor’s office visits, and hospitalizations due to asthma. The meeting also covered how to decrease the number of school days missed by children because of their asthma and save the city money through streamlining programs that address the issues caused by asthma. Director of Housing and Community Development Paul Young also met with GHHI and discussed what a partnership would look like.  Memphis is continuing to explore the best path forward based on its resources, and we look forward to building this relationship further.
GHHI’s partnerships are growing fast as we work to make sure every child can live and learn healthily, regardless of zip code.

GHHI's Work with Older Adults

Older adults are the foundation of our families and the safety and integrity of their homes is important to them aging well physically, mentally, and emotionally. Far too often many of the nation’s older adults struggle to stay in their homes simply because they are unable to afford the simple modifications necessary to avoid injuries, not to mention the major health and safety issues that need to be addressed. In Baltimore City many older adults have lived in their homes for decades, created memories, raised families or even inherited the home from a loved one, so many of these homes are in dire need of renovations that would improve the quality of life of the homeowner. Often there are issues with leaking roofs, malfunctioning plumbing, pest or rodent infestation, mold and/or lead paint concerns. On top of dealing with major housing renovations many older adults need modifications to existing structures in the home to make the home safe for day to day living. Modifications include sturdy hand rails on all stairs, safety seats and grab bars in the shower, raised toilet seats or motion sensor lighting. These modifications are simple but life changing for an aging adult and allow the adult to maintain their independence in a home they worked so hard to obtain. At Green & Healthy Homes Initative, we strive to provide older adults within the Baltimore City community a safe, healthy and clean home and most importantly a peace of mind. As an organization we provide interventions to reduce slip, trip and fall hazards common to the older adult population Coupled with the intervention GHHI provides education materials that promote good medication practices, healthy eating and regular exercise routines to ensure that the older adults we help receive a holistic approach to achieving a heathy home. This model of interventions coupled with education aligns with the organizations mission to break the link of unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. None of our efforts would be possible without our supporters from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, we are beyond grateful to have their support as we focus to help our older adults age gracefully in the comforts of their own homes. 

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2016 Recap

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2016 launched on Monday, October 24th, 2016 with a press conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Moderated by Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, President & CEO, Ruth Ann Norton, with Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Larry Hogan; Carol Bryant Payne, Field Office Director, Housing and Urban Development; Dr. Howard Haft Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Ben H. Grumbles, Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment; Kenneth C. Holt, Secretary of Maryland Housing & Community Development; and Kristin Rzeczkowski, Chief of Staff, Baltimore City Health Department.

During the press conference at Liberty Elementary School GHHI's Derek the dinosaur and The Maryland Book Bank distributed free books from the official Ravens Bookmobile where over 200 students received free books. 

GHHI hosted a twitter chat featuring HUD Secretary Castro and GHHI, President & CEO, Ruth Ann Norton. Utilizing #LeadFreeChat the conversation addressed lead poisoning prevention and resulted in enthusiastic engagement from communities and partners with over 1.3 million impressions. Additionally, President and CEO, Ruth Ann Norton presented GHHI's Strategic Plan to End Childhood Lead Poisoning - A Five Year Blueprint for Action via live webinar.
GHHI experts visited classrooms throughout the entire week to teach students about lead poisoning prevention and executed events to build awareness. Derek the Dinosaur went on his annual school tour and visited over 200 kids teaching them about lead poisoning prevention.
GHHI partnered with the EPA, Morgan State University and Baltimore City to provide a free community fair with free trainings, food trucks, fire trucks, fun activities and lots of great services and resources available to Baltimore residents. 



GHHI National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Events

Jackson, Mississippi

Thursday, October 18:  Proclamation Recognizing Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
Jackson City Hall: Mayor Tony T. Yarber will issue a proclamation recognizing Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in the City of Jackson. Mayor Yarber and staff from the Department of Planning & Development and the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Jackson will share information about the Lead Safe Jackson Housing Program with the City Council during their regular meeting.

Wednesday, October 26:  Lead Safe Jackson Housing Program Kickoff |  Mayor Tony T. Yarber will announce the Lead Safe Jackson Housing Program, sharing information with the public about the program purpose, family eligibility, and how to apply for services. Program partners from GHHI Jackson and other agencies will be in attendance.

Wednesday, October26: Midtown Night OutMidtown Partners and Millsaps College  |  Campus 1 Community are hosting the annual Midtown Night Out and Trunk-Or-Treat at Midtown Public Charter School. GHHI Jackson and other community partners will be on site to provide information and resources to neighborhood residents and families with children enrolled in neighborhood schools.

Atlanta, Georgia

Friday, October 28 Healthy Housing Tour | City officials and stakeholders will tour homes recently rehabilitated for health and energy efficiency.  

Saturday, October 29  Lead Safe Atlanta Octoberfest  | Host activities for children complete with costumes and vendor tables on lead hazards and tips on making our homes healthier and pest free |  Blood testing at this event.

Lewiston-Auburn, Maine

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative and partners are giving away free lead dust kits for lead poisoning prevention week.  Learn More:

New Haven, Connecticut

 Saturday, October 20 Annual Taste of the Caribbean Fest  |  Educate community members and build awareness of the problem of lead poisoning and ways to prevent the disease.  |  Lead Inspectors will visit elementary school classrooms to read the book “Henry and Fred Learn About Lead”. | Students will receive book bags containing lead poisoning prevention materials and educational supplies.

Maryland: Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Events

Monday, October 24, 2016

Maryland LPPW Kick-off Press Conference:

A press conference to highlight importance of lead poisoning prevention as well as preview events throughout LPPW 2016. 

Liberty Elementary School, 3901 Maine Ave, Baltimore, MD 21207

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tenant’s Rights/Property Owner Training

Event to provide information to tenants on their rights, as well as to inform property owners of their rights and responsibilities in Maryland.

Men and Families Center, 2222 Jefferson St, Baltimore, MD 21205

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

 “Day At The Market” East Baltimore Community Outreach Initiative

Free Community event highlighting local health agencies providing free resources and information. 

Northeast Market, 2101 East Monument Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21205

10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Contractor Training

Event to provide information to contractors about best practices for lead work in Maryland.

Men and Families Center, 2222 Jefferson St, Baltimore, MD 21205

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Contractor Training Webinar (Delivered in Spanish)

Webinar to provide information to contractors about best practices for lead work in Maryland (delivered in Spanish).

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, 2714 Hudson St., Baltimore, MD 21224

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Contractor Trainings

Restore Dundalk: Monthly contractor trainings, delivered in person to contractors at Restore Dundalk location

Restore Dundalk (505 Kane St., Baltimore, MD 21224)

9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Parent Forum

Lead 101 Training: Presentation to parents at George Washington Elementary on the dangers of lead, and how to keep their families safe.

800 Scott St., Baltimore, MD 21230

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm


Friday, October 28, 2016

Derek the Dinosaur Headstart Visit

Derek and a teacher friend to visit six headstart classrooms for 15 minutes each through the Y of Central MD.

2030 Elgin Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217\

9:00 am - 11:15 am




Baltimore Children’s Health Fair
w/ GHHI, EPA, Baltimore City, and Morgan State University

The whole community is invited to the Baltimore Children's Health Fair! Lots of fun games, music and activities for kids, and helpful information to protect your children's health. Bring the kids in costume for a 12 noon costume parade led by GHHI's mascot, Derek the Dinosaur! Healthy trick or treating too! 

Morgan State University Quad - at the Student Center
1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251
(park on Hillen Road)

10:00am - 2:00pm



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