December 1, 2014 | Environmental Justice

Improving Health, Economic and Social Outcomes through Integrated Housing Intervention

Abstract: Poor quality housing is an ongoing environmental injustice placing a significant burden on low-income and minority families. The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) in Baltimore, MD, grew out of the historical healthy homes work of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, an organization dedicated to using housing as a platform for health to ensure environmental and social justice for families and children in low-income communities. GHHI's Healthy Homes Demonstration Project utilized the standards and practices created by GHHI: A Holistic Housing Assessment coupled with environmental health education and combined as an integrated environmental health and energy housing intervention for children with asthma, ages 2–14. The project braids resources from healthy homes, lead hazard reduction, weatherization, and energy efficiency projects to form a single multi-component, multi-factorial intervention. Findings from the health surveys at intake and six months after the intervention provide evidence of the impact on the reduction of asthma symptomatic episodes, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations, while showing improvements in school attendance and parents' work attendance. Findings will provide evidence that improved health outcomes and more stable and productive homes in primarily African American, low-income neighborhoods are related to the mitigation of asthma triggers and home-based environmental health hazards. Upstream integrated housing interventions are an effective means to improve health, economic, and social outcomes for children diagnosed with asthma.

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