Employee Spotlight: Lewiston-Auburn Outcome Broker Wendy Collet

Normally GHHI Outcome Broker Wendy Collet can be found running around her town of Lewiston-Auburn, Maine for a million meetings – with partners and stakeholders to raise awareness of healthy home interventions, and with clients in need of home rehabilitation services. Wendy still makes all her meetings, but with twins on the way—due to arrive November 11th if not sooner!—she’s moving slightly slower these days.
Wendy is used to all the running around – she came to GHHI from the construction world, overseeing residential and commercial projects large and small and coordinating a circus of contractors, sub-contractors and building permits. In early 2016 a friend sent her GHHI’s job posting for an Outcome Broker. Although she considered it a long shot, she sent her resume along, and in March was hired as GHHI Lewiston-Auburn’s Outcome Broker.
“I’d never done work like this before, I’d always been involved in for profit industries. This non-profit world is a game changer for me. The work is so important. We’re making a difference in the lives of people in our community, giving kids the opportunity to go to school healthy and ready to learn. I love the work,” said Wendy.
Wendy works closely with Healthy Androscoggin, a comprehensive community health coalition, and local and state government, philanthropy, weatherization contractors, and health and accessibility experts. Her work ensures that all partners coordinate and leverage their collective resources to achieve healthier and more energy efficient homes, higher quality green jobs, increased economic opportunities for low income communities, and better health outcomes for children and families in Lewiston-Auburn.
The most critical skill Wendy brings to the job is her ability to build solid relationships with many different types of people, determining the best way to work together to do things like increase green and healthy homes outreach and education in the community, and improve the partners’ referral system for low income clients in need of services.
“My greatest aspiration here is to completely prevent lead poisoning in every child. I don’t want to hear about any kid being poisoned. It’s a tough road, but we’re on the right track and we’re making progress,” said Wendy.
Meanwhile, Wendy, her husband Ray and their 3 year old daughter Grace are getting ready for the twins’ birth. Grace is a big help already, and promises to help out a lot once her twin brothers arrive. The family has already picked out their names – Joseph and Daniel!

Healthy Housing News


Policy & Legislation

Many state Medicaid programs fall short of adequate home intervention coveragefor asthma care, according to results released by the American Lung Association’sAsthma Care Coverage Project that tracks state Medicaid programs’ coverage of asthma care.

The CDC has issued a list of Hi-5 (Health Impact in 5 Years) interventions—including financial supports for low income homeowners to ensure safe and habitable homes— that can improve community health within 5 years.

HUD announced more than $52 million in new Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grant funding to 23 local and state government agencies last month, including a $1.2 million grant to the City of Jackson, Mississippi, a GHHI site.

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Dick Durbin called on the EPA to update its lead hazard standards in an effort to protect children from lead exposure.

State & Local

Toledo became the first Ohio city to enact a law requiring some rental properties built before 1978 to be inspected and deemed “lead-safe” before they can be leased to tenants.

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice released its investigation of the Baltimore Police Department. Within the report the burden of lead poisoning disproportionally affecting poor, African-American communities is addressed, noting that Baltimore has nearly three times the national rate of lead poisoning among children.

More than 5,300 people have signed an online petition calling on Cleveland-based Sherwin Williams and Pittsburgh's PPG Industries, two of the nation's largest paint producers, to stop making lead paint for sale abroad.

L.L. Bean recalled children's water bottles due to lead content. The Freeport-based outfitter L.L. Bean is offering a full refund on the 6,700 bottles that were sold.

Pay for Success

Up to $2.8 million more is available from Obama Administration for Pay for Success (PFS) feasibility projects through the U.S. Department of Education. The new grant competition is a PFS Feasibility Pilot opportunity for state, local and tribal governments to explore how to use Pay for Success to expand access to proven programs. Learn more.

The federal Corporation for National and Community Service and the Veterans Administration will award a grant of up to $3.0MM to a grantee to serve as an outcomes payor in a Pay for Success project, to achieve positive outcomes for veterans struggling with PTSD and employment issues.  Application deadline: 9/14/16

The Social Finance global network has launched its first white paper on the state of the social impact bond market, or Pay for Success projects. 

Employee Spotlight: GHHI Social Innovation Specialist Trent Van Alfen


GHHI Social Innovation Specialist Trent Van Alfen
GHHI will soon publish a set of reports that evaluate the feasibility of using Pay for Success (PFS) financing for healthy home interventions to address asthma in five sites around the country.
One of the site leads for projects, GHHI Social Innovation Specialist Trent Van Alfen, spoke to us about what makes PFS projects so exciting and what brought him to GHHI in the first place. Plus, he reveals that this job is way better than his first one – especially since he’s paid with real money instead of gumballs!
Trent came to GHHI in June 2015 in pursuit of his passion – applying market-based principles to solve persistent social problems.
“It’s funny because when I got here, I knew a lot about social impact financing, and almost nothing about asthma and healthcare,” said Trent. “But the more I learned about healthy housing services and especially the positive impact on kids’ school attendance, that’s what I was most attracted to in the job.”
Trent’s interest in social impact work was first sparked as a summer volunteer in Uganda in 2008. He signed up with HELP International to implement community development projects such as building classrooms, libraries, and adobe stoves in a small town called Lugazi.
“After that I became more and more interested in using market-based levers to address problems of poverty. I loved the idea of Pay for Success projects,” said Trent. “A mentor introduced me to GHHI and the rest is history!”
“My favorite part of the job is working in a new developing field - it feels like working at a startup. We’re helping to create something that nobody has ever done before [in asthma prevention]. We’re creating new ideas for streamlining this work, things that require thinking outside the box.”
Trent told us about one tool the Social Innovation Team is creating right now – a PFS feasibility scoring rubric that standardizes the evaluation of potential PFS projects. The team is working to create tools and templates for the broader PFS field, to help make feasibility studies more effective.
Such tools are a world away from where Trent got his start — as a quality control inspector for bubble gum machines! Working for his father, ten year old Trent would sit in front of the carnival-like machines, inserting quarters and watching the gumballs go down tubes and different mechanical levers. Any time a gumball fell off the track, Trent recorded the error.
Today, Trent’s greatest aspiration for GHHI is to be instrumental in ultimately changing healthcare policy, so that Medicaid and managed care organizations pay directly for home-based asthma interventions. “It would have a huge impact on society—by not only improving people’s health, but also contributing to educational, social, and economic outcomes across generations,” says Trent.

GHHI National News


Green & Healthy Homes National News

Greater Syracuse became the latest GHHI designated site to join the GHHI network. Mayor of Syracuse Stephanie Miner signed the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Compact for the Greater Syracuse area. The Compact actively engages local and state government, housing, foundation and other partners that are conducting work related to green and healthy homes interventions. Read more about GHHI Greater Syracuse.

Congratulations to all of the GHHI site locations that won Lead Based Paint Hazard Control or Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this summer! GHHI locations include Jackson, MS ($1.2 million); Allegheny County, PA ($3.4 million); Lansing, MI ($2.3 million); Rhode Island ($3.4 million); and Maine ($3.4 million). The funding will be used to remove lead paint hazards in affected homes and help protect children from lead poisoning.  


GHHI President and CEO Ruth Ann Norton shared the stage with HUD Secretary Julián Castro and other experts on a panel last month to address lead exposure in low-income communities. Hosted by the Center for American Progress, the panel discussed best practices for creating lead-free homes and provided insights on how leaders across sectors can work together to ensure that every child lives in an environment conducive to their success.

GHHI delivered a paper on the Non-Energy Benefits, the Clean Energy Plan, and Energy Policy for Multi-family Housing at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s 2016 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. The paper described the non-energy benefits related to energy efficiency and weatherization retrofits that occured at the individual, sectoral and societal level, with particular emphasis on multifamily housing.

GHHI is conducting site visits to the 12 states the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) network is partnering with, and working with the Natural Resources Defense Council and state/local partners to ensure that the affordable multifamily housing sector receives its fair share of energy efficiency funding from utilities. Currently, the share of utility and other energy efficiency program funds spent on the multifamily sector falls well below the multifamily share of the housing market in areas across the country. GHHI is helping EEFA sites make the case for the health benefits from energy efficiency retrofits. GHHI is also developing case studies that demonstrate this benefit and the health, social and economic outcomes of comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades.
 

Employee Spotlight: Human Resources Manager James Lohmann


Human Resources Manager James Lohmann
GHHI is well known for its public engagement in our communities and for its outspoken advocacy on behalf of families.   Less well known are its organizational support systems and the people who run them. James Lohmann is one of those people. During his first year as GHHI’s HR Manager, he overhauled GHHI’s payroll system, retiring the home grown site to transition to an online time management and payroll platform that streamlines all employees’ time, paycheck and benefits information. The new platform makes submitting a timesheet a smoother, easier process for everyone.
“My favorite part of the job is helping staff be able to focus on their work, knowing that their paycheck is going to be in on time, their benefits are there, giving them the support structure they need so they can succeed in their jobs,” said James. “The people here are my clients, an incredible group of people dedicating their lives to helping others. I’m so glad to be supporting them as they do this important work.”
Raised on the north shore of Long Island, James came to GHHI from previous HR roles in New York City’s corporate America. “I was so excited to come work for a non-profit; it’s a big departure from anything I’ve done before. It’s nice to shift the focus on work being done in the community to help families and kids.”
In his previous roles, James had always stepped into a pre-established process of online  systems, staff hiring procedures and administrative workflow. “Here at GHHI I’ve been able to create a whole new system myself. It’s a nice change from just assimilating into something that’s already in place.”
When James was younger, he used to think he wanted to be a psychologist or counselor of some kind when he grew up. Today, part of his duties involve helping staff deal with employee relationships. “Sometimes I feel like there are elements of [counseling] in my job. I’m not a licensed therapist, but do engage with people on that level at times.”
For next steps at GHHI, James hopes to implement new employee centric programs and trainings that help elevate staff as individuals, and the camaraderie and culture of the organization as a whole. “That’s why I spent my first year getting everything organized, so that all the fun things can happen once we’re operating at an optimal pace!”
 

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