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U.S. Conference of Mayors Pass Resolutions Supporting Green and Healthy Homes, Lead Poisoning Prevention and Pay for Success

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 83rd Annual Meeting, Mayors adopted resolutions supporting three issues critical to advancing healthy homes for all. The resolutions support:

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and Efforts to Produce Sustainable Green, Healthy and Safe Homes

Federal Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs

Social Impact Financing and Pay for Success Models
After adoption, the resolutions become the official policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
On behalf of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, I would like to express sincere appreciation to the Mayors for shining light on these important issues that affect millions of families’ health and ability to thrive. Additional healthy homes and lead poisoning prevention funding is needed at the federal level, and systems reforms are required at federal, state and local levels across the nation to advance the creation of healthy homes — which in turn produce health, economic and social outcomes for families. And we must not stop there; we must continue to find creative pathways to sustaining this work, through social impact financing and pay for success.
Special thanks to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter for submitting these important resolutions to the 2015 Conference. 

Social Innovation Fund Features GHHI in Grantee Spotlight

For the entire month of June, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is celebrating Healthy Futures for Vulnerable Citizens. The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is currently working with the Social Innovation Fund to promote healthy futures by breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families.
GHHI is proud to have been featured in this month’s Social Innovation Fund Spotlight for our Pay for Success program. Through our work, we help people live in safe, healthy, energy efficient homes while reducing overall healthcare costs and increasing their quality of life. Read more in our Grantee Spotlight.

GHHI Thanks Attorney General Schneiderman for Strong Support of New York Families

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!

Creating Healthy Housing to Alleviate Childhood Asthma

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. 

Rehabilitation to Combat Unhealthy Housing

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) has long been an advocate for healthy housing, realizing the crucial role it plays in determining health, social and economic outcomes. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with National Public Radio (NPR) and  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) recently called attention to the importance of healthy housing and other factors in their new poll and webcast series, “What Shapes Health?”
NPR’s related article, Improving Housing Can Pay Dividends in Better Health, included excellent case studies of families experiencing negative health impacts that improved after relocating to healthy homes. We commend the great work of the National Housing Conference and Bridge Housing as referenced in this article.
For most families, rehabilitation is the primary answer since relocation is not always an option. More than 20 million people in the U.S. live in unhealthy housing. There are simple not enough affordable, healthy homes available. Families are often aware that hazards in their home are affecting their health, but are unable to relocate because of lack of funds or lack of affordable options near their place of work or their children’s school. When families are lucky enough to move, another family will eventually move into the same unhealthy home, continuing the cycle.
GHHI is working to break this cycle by rehabilitating occupied housing and teaching families how to maintain the home. This allows families to stay in place and provides an enormous opportunity to revitalize and stabilize at-risk neighborhoods.
GHHI’s recent work in Baltimore, as published in Environmental Justice, shows that remediating home-based health hazards in occupied housing improves a family’s health. Simply removing asthma triggers, like mold and pests, while concurrently teaching families how to reduce dust mites and manage medication has resulted in a decrease of asthma-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits and missed days of school and work.
We are grateful that Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR and HSPH are bringing attention to the social determinants that impact health and housing in our most vulnerable communities. I encourage everyone to follow this series and further the dialogue on the importance of healthy housing for all.  

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