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May 19, 2015
I am delighted to announce—during the celebration of Asthma Awareness Month—that the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) has selected the following service providers to participate in our national, asthma-related Pay for Success (PFS) feasibility study:
Heart of the City Neighborhoods, Inc. (HOCN) and Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB), Buffalo, New York
Health Net of West Michigan (Health Net), Asthma Network of West Michigan (Asthma Network) and Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan (Healthy Homes Coalition), Grand Rapids, Michigan
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis (Memphis Habitat), Memphis, Tennessee
Salt Lake County Office of Regional Development, Salt Lake County, Utah
Partners for a Healthier Communities’ Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition (PVAC), Springfield, Massachusetts
Each awardee was selected from a pool of highly competitive candidate organizations, for their ability to execute housing based interventions with excellence and adhere to rigorous data collection processes. These organizations will work in collaboration with local health care organizations in their cities to conduct feasibility studies of PFS models that fund home-based asthma interventions, including remediation of asthma triggers and resident education.
We are grateful to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which—through the Social Innovation Fund—is providing GHHI and our partner Calvert Foundation with the grant funding to explore this project.
In the coming weeks and months, GHHI and Calvert Foundation will provide technical assistance to the ten selected service providers and healthcare organizations to assess viability of asthma-related PFS projects benefitting low-income children who suffer from the disease.
If these projects are deemed viable and successfully implemented, a significant number of children suffering from asthma as a result of poor quality housing will no longer require frequent hospitalization. Affected children will spend more time in the classroom, and their parents will spend more time at work. Asthma-related healthcare costs will be lower for healthcare organizations and for the families they serve.
Why It’s Important
We are forging a new path to improved asthma care and reduced healthcare costs, at local and national levels. PFS presents an ideal opportunity for transformational impact in the care and treatment of asthma. Research shows that 40 percent of asthma episodes are caused by home-based environmental health hazards. Much of this cost is born by medical and federal tax payer dollars, yet these programs provide little to no resources to eradicate the root causes of asthma. We have opportunity to use housing as a platform to reduce the high cost associated with repeated hospitalization and emergency department visits due to asthma.
This project will also enable GHHI and Calvert Foundation to establish the evidence necessary to move public policy and garner public support for similar, future projects across the country.
We are excited to get started and I look forward to sharing what we learn. I hope you will check back regularly or sign up for email updates on this groundbreaking project!
May 4, 2015
Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood. In the United States alone, an average of one out of every 10 school-aged children have asthma. It is a leading cause of hospital emergency department visits and school absenteeism, with more than 10.5 million school days missed annually. In a continued effort to raise public awareness of the risks faced everyday by the 7.1 million children with asthma living in the United States, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is joining with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to participate in Asthma Awareness Month and World Asthma Day.
Asthma is a chronic lifelong disease that affects the lungs, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Asthma attacks cause kids to miss school and adults to miss work. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma.
Although asthma cannot be cured, families can prevent asthma attacks by reducing their exposure to triggers, such as extreme temperatures, pollen, dust, mold, tobacco smoke, chemical odors and pests. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 40% of all incidents of asthma are attributable to home-based environmental health hazards. Ensuring that your home meets the eight elements of a green & healthy home—dry, clean, safe, well-ventilated, pest-free, containment-free, well-maintained and energy efficient—can prevent asthma attacks in your home and keep your children in school, healthy and ready to learn.
GHHI works with families to provide appropriate tools and techniques for reducing indoor asthma triggers. Controlling asthma triggers in your home can be easy if you know how! We realize that some asthma trigger issues can require a financial investment that not all families have, especially concerning severe mold and ventilation problems. GHHI also provides low-income families with free home repair services to address asthma triggers. Each home is inspected for asthma triggers, safety hazards and energy inefficiencies with a customized scope of work developed based on the home assessment. Repair services could include mold remediation, weatherization and integrated pest management, and in-home education may cover smoking cessation, cleaning techniques and asthma medication management.
We recently published our program results in the Environmental Justice journal and it shows that our intervention model has helped keep kids out of the hospital and get them back to the classroom. By addressing asthma triggers in the homes of children with chronic asthma, we have been able to reduce asthma related hospitalizations by over 60% and emergency department visits by 25%. There was a 62% increase in participants reporting asthma-related perfect attendance for their child (i.e. zero school absences due to asthma episodes) as well as an 88% increase in parents never having to miss a day of work to care for a sick child with asthma.
Help us spread asthma awareness, this month and every day, by sharing our informational pages on asthma triggers, the eight elements of a healthy home and or healthy homes quiz. For additional information on asthma prevention, visit the EPA.org or AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org.
 Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2011 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/
 National Surveillance of Asthma: United States, 2001-2010 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_035.pdf
 Environmental Justice, Vol 7. Number 6, 2014. Green & Healthy Homes Initiative: Improving Health, Economic and Social Outcomes Through Integrated Housing Intervention.
April 23, 2015
On behalf of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman for his for strong support of New York families, and dedication to creating healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. Attorney General Schneiderman today announced that he is teaming with the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Home HeadQuarters, Inc. in Syracuse to launch a $2 million sustainable homes program.
The program will help low-income families lower their energy bills and eliminate serious home health and safety hazards in older homes. As GHHI’s work is demonstrating in 21 cities across the country—children, seniors and families in Western New York will experience improved health, social and educational outcomes as a result of this program. Working together we truly can realize our collective mission to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families.
Endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Energy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Council on Foundations and numerous philanthropic partners, GHHI serves as the national model for green and healthy homes interventions. The GHHI model has shown dramatic improvements in asthma and other home-based environmental health issues. We are committed to effective collaborations that result in healthier housing and healthier communities and will be delighted to work in partnership with Rochester and Syracuse.
This new program in New York is funded with money from a $9.5 million court-ordered settlement with American Electric Power (AEP), the largest U.S. power company, over violations of the federal Clean Air Act. In 2010, $2.6 million of these funds supported the launch of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative in Buffalo (GHHI Buffalo) and we are absolutely thrilled that the Attorney General recognized the good work being done in that community. GHHI Buffalo is expertly administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and has aided 379 of Buffalo’s neediest families – including almost 200 children – to lower their energy bills and eliminate serious home health and safety hazards in older homes.
This additional $2 million investment will enable Syracuse and Rochester to replicate the highly-successful GHHI Buffalo program. We at GHHI sincerely congratulate the Cities of Syracuse and Rochester on this award!
April 1, 2015
On Saturday, March 14, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Detroit-Wayne County (GHHI Detroit-Wayne County) welcomed more than 200 southwest Detroit residents and children to its first ever Green & Healthy Homes Day. The event was held at Harms Elementary School with opening remarks by Council Member Castaneda-Lopez of Detroit’s 6th district and Eric Johnson, GHHI Detroit-Wayne County co-chair and chief of housing rehabilitation with the City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department.
More than 20 GHHI Detroit-Wayne County organizations were represented at the event including: AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America – Michigan Chapter, Bridging Communities, City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department, CLEARCorps Detroit, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, DTE Energy, EcoWorks, Ecology Center, Habitat for Humanity Detroit, Institute for Population Health, Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, RSM Lead Inspections, SEEL, Stafford House, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wayne County Public Health Department, Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Each organization staffed a resource table with information about their organization, available programs and services, and products and education to help residents make their homes safe, green and healthy. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of GHHI Detroit-Wayne County partners and complete program applications and surveys. GHHI Detroit-Wayne County partners also offered free lead testing for children under age 6, hourly door prizes and workshops and demonstrations on how to make your home safe, green and healthy. Children loved playing in the Kid’s Corner with environmentally friendly crafts and games while their parents browsed the many partner tables.
GHHI Detroit-Wayne County would like to thank all the partners who helped to make this event a huge success, especially Harms Elementary, the City of Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department, Wayne State University, EcoWorks, Stafford House, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America – Michigan Chapter and Wayne County Public Health Department. We look forward to engaging with many more Detroit residents on green and healthy housing issues to ensure that Detroit families have safe and healthy places to live and play.
March 11, 2015
The Social Innovation Fund’s (SIF) Pay for Success (PFS) initiative has the potential to change the way government serves the public. It’s a new approach to funding social outcomes and addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges across the SIF’s three priority areas: economic opportunity, youth development and healthy futures. As an inaugural grantee of the SIF’s PFS program, it allows GHHI to continue to lead the national effort in increasing the stock of affordable, healthy housing by exploring the feasibility of asthma-related Pay for Success projects benefitting low-income, asthmatic children.
Today we’re excited to announce our Pay for Success service recipients who will advance and evaluate new models of funding home-based interventions that produce measurable outcomes such as reduced hospitalizations, reduced emergency department visits and less missed school days.
In 2014, GHHI received $1.011M from SIF, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to help address childhood asthma by finding effective interventions and mobilizing public and private resources. So why did we engage in Pay for Success?
It’s innovative. Instead of paying for permitted activities, private healthcare payors pay for demonstrated results. This gives organizations the chance to bring proven interventions to scale.
It’s evidence-based. Investors are repaid once a rigorous, third-party evaluation determines that the program has achieved outcomes agreed upon by all parties.
It’s cost-effective. Preventative services are often the first to be cut from government budgets, even though remedial and emergency services are more expensive in the long run. By directing funds to preventive services, Pay for Success transactions have the potential to generate long-term savings for taxpayers.
It’s collaborative. By establishing public-private partnerships, Pay for Success transactions mobilize new sources of capital and minimize the financial risk to taxpayers. Social interventions benefit from additional funding, and “impact investors” and other private and philanthropic organizations can marry financial goals and public good.
I invite you to learn more about our service recipients, and the work we are doing together to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children. With a healthy home free of asthma triggers, the opportunities for families can only increase—children are in the classroom ready to learn and parents are able to work.