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June 27, 2012
A city-wide partnership takes a step forward in ensuring green, safe and healthy homes for residents
Philadelphia, PA (June 27, 2012) – Mayor Michael Nutter signed an agreement yesterday designed to boost Philadelphia’s efforts to make the city a leader in the green economy. By signing the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) Compact, the mayor formalized the city’s commitment to work toward the implementation of an integrated system to deliver healthy housing programs for vulnerable families and children in Philadelphia.
Through GHHI, the city will work with partner organizations, including the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia Gas Works, and others to make its housing stock more energy efficient, safer, and healthier for low and moderate income Philadelphia families. The integrated and comprehensive upgrades will help families lower utility bills; reduce doctor and emergency room visits due to asthma, lead poisoning and other home-based health and safety hazards; increase property values; and create opportunities for jobs and job training in the city’s construction sector.
“We are grateful for Mayor Nutter’s leadership on GHHI at both the local and national levels. Through his signing of the Philadelphia Compact and his sponsorship of the GHHI resolution at the US Conference of Mayors, he has helped introduce our work to thousands of cities nationwide,” said Ruth Ann Norton, executive director of the Coalition and GHHI. “The GHHI platform is helping local communities across the country deliver integrated and collaborative health and housing services to low-income families that more efficiently and cost-effectively implements federally-funded programs,” continued Norton. “With GHHI, children are healthier, families have safer and more energy efficient homes - and lower utility bills - and health insurance costs decline due to fewer housing-related health issues.”
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has led the effort to establish the local strategy, convene partners and move the work forward. The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning is contributing $286,500 to the Philadelphia initiative to support the creation of Green & Healthy units and to provide health, safety, and weatherization related jobs training. The funds are part of a $3.2 million grant awarded to the Coalition by the Open Society Foundations’ Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation. The training is directed at Philadelphia residents who are chronically unemployed or underemployed, as well as those with criminal records.
Mayor Nutter said, “The City of Philadelphia is committed to protecting the health and safety of our children and families. My Administration signed this Compact because we must continue to promote policies that will expand affordable green housing, ensure safe materials are used to build homes, and support healthy living in Philadelphia.”
The national GHHI effort is led by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning in partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council on Foundations.
“I applaud Mayor Michael Nutter and the city of Philadelphia as they take an important step to improve the health, economic and social outcomes for their most vulnerable citizens by signing the GHHI Compact,” said Jon Gant, director of the HUD Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. “Implementing the collaborative GHHI platform will enable city departments, and their community and nonprofit partners, to more effectively and efficiently deliver integrated health and housing services to low-income residents,” continued Gant. “HUD is a key partner in GHHI nationally, supporting the innovative strategy that aligns, braids and coordinates federal, local and philanthropic resources to achieve greater results for all partners in the work."
Under the leadership of Mayor Michael Nutter, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that cities throughout the U.S. adopt GHHI standards to expand the nation’s stock of affordable, green, healthy and sustainable housing. Through the adoption of the resolution, the Conference, which represents the interests of mayors from the 1,150 cities in the U.S. with populations with 30,000 people or more, also called on Congress to fully fund Healthy Housing programs at the core of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. This is the second consecutive year the Conference has adopted language encouraging cities to move toward the GHHI model.
By making homes healthy, safe and energy efficient, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that GHHI’s first 3500 units will save more than $325 million in energy and health care costs and improve the quality of life for children and families. To date, the work in the current 17 GHHI sites has achieved 20 to 25% savings in home repair costs; annual energy cost reductions of $450 per household; significant reduction in children's hospital visits due to asthma; and improved school attendance and academic performance.
Philadelphia joins the cities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Flint, and Providence, which have all signed GHHI Compacts and implemented local learning networks to begin integrating health and housing programs to better serve their communities.
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative™
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative™ (GHHI) works in collaboration with local and federal agencies, and philanthropic partners to align, braid, and coordinate funding and programs to create green, healthy, and safe homes in low-income communities nationwide. Directed by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (Coalition), with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Energy and national and local foundations GHHI replaces stand-alone programs with a comprehensive strategy to improve health, economic and social outcomes through an integrated housing intervention framework.
About the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning
Founded in 1986 as a response to the twin tragedies of unhealthy housing and unhealthy children, the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (Coalition) is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that creates, implements, and promotes programs and policies to eradicate childhood lead poisoning, reduce asthma episodes and further the creation of green, healthy and lead-safe homes. The Coalition manages local direct services programs that include green and healthy housing interventions, training programs, and relocation, legal, and education services. Nationally, the organization is a leading provider of public policy and technical assistance services to government agencies, non-profits, and philanthropy to support effective and efficient implementation of programs and policies that create energy efficient, healthy and safe homes.