This summer has been busy and exciting for GHHI! We have been honored to meet with elected officials and community leaders taking clear action to rid their communities of lead. Since the revelations of lead poisoning in Flint, Pittsburgh has re-committed itself to the fight to eradicate lead in the city and surrounding county. In late July, GHHI joined Pittsburgh as it became the 19th city to sign a compact to commit to improving housing in the region through a city, county and non-profit partnership. The compact is a tangible sign of support from the Pittsburgh community, local service providers, agency leaders, and local elected officials. Together, they are working on a comprehensive and streamlined program of services that will help keep homes safe and healthy for families.
One partner organization, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, is engaging its more than 25,000 member network of volunteers to help GHHI modify homes. GHHI also works with local nonprofits like Conservation Consultants, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Nazareth Housing Services, the Homewood Children’s Village, and Women for a Healthier Environment. In a press conference, Mayor Bill Peduto promised to find funding to sustain the program and said, “as we look to creating new opportunities in home ownership, we look to make sure that those homes are not only energy efficient, but healthy for the families that will be living there.”
Several cities across the country are also taking the important first step to rid their communities of lead, and earlier this summer, GHHI also met with officials in Richmond and Memphis as they learned more about programs to make homes healthy.
In Richmond, Virginia, GHHI met with Mayor Levar Stoney and partners in the Learning Network. GHHI’s Learning Network is made up of a variety of teams that help coordinate services and prepare cities for success when they sign on to GHHI’s program. Mayor Stoney expressed his enthusiasm for building a healthier and safer city and community.
In Memphis, Tennessee, GHHI met with more than 50 people representing at least 30 organizations, including LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and the Memphis Medical Legal Partnership as well as city and Shelby County officials. At the meeting, GHHI discussed how to implement its model to help decrease emergency room visits, doctor’s office visits, and hospitalizations due to asthma. The meeting also covered how to decrease the number of school days missed by children because of their asthma and save the city money through streamlining programs that address the issues caused by asthma. Director of Housing and Community Development Paul Young also met with GHHI and discussed what a partnership would look like. Memphis is continuing to explore the best path forward based on its resources, and we look forward to building this relationship further.
GHHI’s partnerships are growing fast as we work to make sure every child can live and learn healthily, regardless of zip code.