2013 GHHI ELI: Tell Us Your Site's Story (Dubuque)

Eric Dregne is the Vice President of Programs at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. During the 2013 Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Executive Leadership Institute, he shared the impact of GHHI on the city of Dubuque, Iowa. In this video, you will learn how GHHI approach in Dubuque leads to more kids going to school, not hospitals as a result of an unhealthy housing environment.

Safety Starts with Me: Home Improvement and DIY Tips

To close out National Home Safety Month, we bring to you a guest blog submitted by the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign.
The summer months are the perfect time to kick off your long list of home improvements and DIY projects. With any do-it-yourself upgrades, safety is always paramount. Each year, June is named National Home Safety month. Also sponsored by the National Safety Council in June is National Safety Month; this year’s theme is “Safety Starts with Me.” The hope is to foster a sense of responsibility in people for their own safety, as well as the safety of others, to avoid preventable injuries and deaths.
For asbestos-exposure victims, the notion of preventable injuries and deaths rings all too clearly. With asbestos use rampant in construction and products used in homes prior to 1980, a renovation project can uncover much more than you bargained for during a project. In spirit of National Home Safety Month, here is some advice to consider when tackling your home projects to keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible from the hidden danger of asbestos.
Exterior of Your Home
Roofing and siding are commonly replaced on older homes to update the appearance and to protect the structure of the building. Asbestos is a known fire-retardant material, so having asbestos fibers in the siding, shingles, tar paper, and various glues and sealants was not out of the ordinary to help protect the building. This summer, if lifting the old shingles from a roof or re-siding your home is on your summer to-do list, consider researching or testing the products used on your home so you can finish your upgrade safely.
Interior of Your Home
The list of places and products where asbestos could be hidden in your home may seem endless. Some frequent projects, like replacing tiles, replacing insulation, or removing popcorn ceilings, are all projects to consider calling in a professional asbestos abatement team if you suspect asbestos could be present. These type of projects require materials––like floor and ceiling tiles––to be broken up in order for removal. When asbestos-containing materials are broken up or cut, that is when the potential for friable asbestos is the greatest, putting anyone in your home in danger of inhalation and subsequent exposure.
What to do if Asbestos is Found in Your Home
If you believe there is a great chance that asbestos is in your home, hire a professional asbestos removal contractor to test the materials to confirm if asbestos is present. If asbestos is found in your home, there is no need to panic. Asbestos becomes dangerous when it becomes friable, or disturbed, and its microscopic fibers are released into the air. An asbestos removal contractor can work with you to have the asbestos properly abated from your home so you can get your renovation projects safely underway.
A main component of the Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign’s mission is to educate the public on the dangers of asbestos. Asbestos-related diseases are sometimes unavoidable, but by understanding the risks and locations of this deadly fiber, we can learn how to best prevent exposure.
While it’s important to maintain and update your home for your comfort or for improved curb appeal, it’s more important to consider the theme of “Safety Starts with Me” and take the time to consider properly removing asbestos containing materials from your home safely. Not only will you be taking a great step to keep yourself safe, you’ll also be keeping your loved ones safe from potential exposure as well.

Children in GHHI’s "Safe at Home" Program Show Improvements in Asthma Control

The GHHI Safe At Home program provides vital assistance and services to families in Baltimore who have children suffering from asthma. GHHI enrolls households into the program if there is a child ages 2-14 with asthma living in the home. In addition to a comprehensive assessment of the home and resulting improvements to make the home safer and healthier for all occupants, GHHI environmental health educators conduct an assessment survey. Through the survey, they gather important information about family health, especially the child’s asthma symptoms before and after the interventions are completed in order to see that there is improvement.  
Among families who received GHHI services between 2007 and 2010, 67.8% of those surveyed reported an improvement in their child’s asthma control six months after the intervention. (101 of 149 caregivers who completed pre- and post- health assessment surveys reported this improvement.)   Clients also reported improvements in children’s nighttime asthma symptoms (wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath that interrupts sleep) and caregiver ability to get work done because of child’s improved asthma health. Caregivers reported decreased frequency in calling their child’s doctor or unscheduled office visits because of asthma symptoms after the Safe At Home interventions were done
More recent surveys of families enrolled in Safe At Home reveal similarly positive and statistically significant findings. Of the 69 households that were surveyed pre and post intervention since the program began in 2011:
-        60.9% reported improvement in their child’s asthma control
-        61.5% reported decreases in asthma symptoms (difficulty breathing, nighttime coughing)
-        50.8% reported less use of the health care system overall because of their child’s asthma symptoms (health care use includes calling or visiting their doctor, going to the emergency room, or being admitted to the hospital)
Additionally, nearly 70% of respondents (68.9%) reported that their child had an Asthma Action Plan post-intervention, which is an important tool to help caregivers understand and manage their child’s asthma, know if symptoms are worsening, and know which appropriate steps  to take to help their child. 
Until recently, GHHI interviewed families at three months or six months post-intervention to understand the effectiveness of housing intervention services in improving health outcomes.  In March 2013, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene approved additional surveying of families at three-, six-, nine- and twelve-month intervals. These additional surveys will be very valuable to GHHI staff to help ensure that symptoms are improving.
For more information about GHHI's Safe at Home program, please email marylandprogram@ghhi.org or call 410-534-6447.

2013 GHHI Executive Leadership Institute Takes Place June 10-12 in Providence, Rhode Island

The 2013 GHHI Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) kicks off next week in Providence, Rhode Island. Taking place June 10-12, it promises to be a great convening from which we hope attendees leave inspired about their roles in creating healthier communities all across America.
The ELI Conference is our national conference for GHHI site leaders. It brings together local practitioners, content experts, federal partners, and philanthropic supporters to help GHHI site leaders increase the capacity, reach and effectiveness of their GHHI sites. Intensive learning and best practice peer exchanges are at the heart of the ELI. All programming is designed to deliver portable content that can be used to improve program delivery and the development of healthy, lead-safe and energy efficient homes. In addition, sites are given tools to help collect critical data and perform needed evaluations and cost benefit studies to inform federal and state policies related to lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes.
You can be a part of the conversation on social media by following us on Twitter @HealthyHousing.  Throughout this week, we will be using the hashtag: #ghhiprovidence2013. We will post pictures to our Facebook page.

HUD Awards $98 Million to Protect Children from Lead and Other Home Hazards

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it awarded $98 million in grants to protect children from lead and other home-based health hazards. GHHI sites in Salt Lake, San Antonio and Baltimore County all received funding. Rhode Island Housing, a GHHI network partner, also received a grant. More information on the grant via a HUD press release is below.  
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $98.3 million in grants to 38 local projects to protect children and families from the hazards of lead-based paint and from other home health and safety hazards (see chart below).
The grant funding announced today will clean up lead paint hazards and other health hazards in 6,373 high-risk homes, train workers in lead-safe work practices, and increase public awareness about childhood lead poisoning. Lead is a known toxin that can impair children’s development and have effects lasting into adulthood.
“Childhood lead poisoning is completely preventable and that’s exactly what these funds are designed to do,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones. “The communities receiving these grants are helping their children grow up brighter, safer and healthier.”
“These grant awards demonstrate that a priority for HUD is providing healthy and safe homes for families and children,” noted Jon L. Gant, Director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. “HUD is committed to protecting children from the hazards that can be caused by deteriorated lead paint, and by the mold that follows moisture intruding into the home, as part of the Department’s efforts to make the nation’s housing healthy and sustainable.”
These grant programs of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control promote local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead hazards from lower income homes; stimulate private sector investment in lead hazard control; and educate the public about the dangers of lead-based paint. A complete project-by-project summary of the programs awarded grants today can be found on HUD’s website.
Lead Hazard Control Grant Programs
Even though lead-based paint was banned for residential use in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today. Lead-contaminated dust is the primary cause of lead exposure and can lead to a variety of health problems in young children, including reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, and impaired hearing. At higher levels, lead can damage a child's kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia, coma, convulsions and even death.
The funding announced today directs critical funds to cities, counties and states to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards in thousands of privately-owned, low-income housing units. These funds are provided through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. To expand the reach of HUD’s Lead Hazard Control Program. HUD is also providing over $4.4 million to help communities transform their lead hazard control programs to address multiple housing-related hazards.
The state-by-state breakdown of the funding announced is available here. 

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