Green & Healthy Homes Initiative receives grant to address housing conditions in Baltimore, hosts Roundtable to discuss housing’s impact on health and equity
January 24, 2022 – Baltimore, MD – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, members of Maryland’s U.S. Congressional delegation, and city and state leaders gathered in Baltimore today to mark HUD’s latest investment in healthy housing for low-income communities, highlighting the efforts of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) to reduce lead and other home-based environmental health hazards. The visit included stops at an East Baltimore home that has received GHHI services and a Roundtable discussion with healthcare, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders focused on cross-sector opportunities to scale investments in occupied housing in under-resourced communities as a tangible means of improving health, equity and opportunity.
“This funding will further our goal of ending the toxic legacy of lead and unhealthy housing conditions and will equip us to create affordable, healthy and climate-friendly homes for our most vulnerable and overburdened families. We are proud to have been selected among the many great change-making organizations fighting for environmental justice, racial equity and better opportunities through healthier housing across the country,” said Ruth Ann Norton, GHHI President & CEO “We applaud HUD’s commitment to creating healthier, more stable and affordable housing for our children, families and seniors.”
GHHI, which has led Maryland’s efforts to reduce childhood lead poisoning by 99%, has been a national leader in aligning investments from healthcare, philanthropy, and government to address the twin crises of climate and housing conditions. The organization is one of 60 across the US to receive a grant under HUD’s recently awarded $105 million Healthy Homes Production Grant Program. GHHI received a $2 million grant which will support their efforts to holistically address issues like lead poisoning, asthma, indoor air quality, energy efficiency and trip and fall hazards in a 1,000-home initiative launched in partnership with ProMedica’s Social Determinants of Health Institute. Specifically, the HUD grant, which targets households at or below 80 percent of area median income, will fund work in 300 of these homes in East Baltimore, in collaboration with Baltimore City Housing and Health Departments, Maryland Departments of Housing and Health, Maryland Energy Administration, Amerigroup, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, Living Classrooms, Center for Urban Families, Civic Works, Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Community Health.
Secretary Fudge reinforced the administration’s commitment to providing healthy and sustainable housing for all Americans. Recognizing the work of GHHI to eliminate lead hazards and create healthier housing to ensure that every child gets to the classroom healthy and ready to learn and every senior can age in place with health and dignity, she emphasized the urgency to make more tangible and transformational investments in improving housing conditions to improve opportunity.
“Children should never have to live in a place where they cannot breathe. We cannot, we must not and we will not allow children to die from things that we can fix. When we transform houses, we transform people’s lives,” added Secretary Fudge.
Secretary Fudge was joined by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Housing Secretary Kenneth Holt, Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, Delegates Brooke Lierman and Dana Stein, Deputy Mayor Ted Carter and Councilman Ryan Dorsey as well as several Baltimore non-profit and institutional leaders. The delegation visited the home of Deborah Carter Gaddis to observe first-hand the GHHI work that this latest HUD grant will make possible.
“Ms. Gaddis’s house needs to be more than four sides and a roof. It should be a home where she can live without fear that she or her grandchildren will get sick from mold, lead, or other toxic substances. It should be a place where she can thrive and know that she and her grandkids are in a healthy environment,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “This is a shining example of the importance of programs like the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and why I’ve fought for federal funding to support it and the Healthy Homes Production Grant Program. I’m proud to join Secretary Fudge and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative today as we deliver this critical federal investment in healthier housing in Baltimore.”
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Van Hollen fought to secure $60 million for the Healthy Homes Production Grant Program in fiscal year 2021.
Today’s HUD visit and Roundtable discussion sought to build on the positive momentum in Baltimore and underscore what’s possible when healthy housing is recognized and supported as a critical determinant of health, equity and opportunity for every family.
“We know that exposure to lead is the most significant and widespread environmental hazard for children in Maryland — especially right here in Baltimore,” said Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott, who was unable to attend the event due to the evolving situation with the city Fire Department. “The health risks from lead exposure compound existing disparities in the quality and access to care available to low-income residents. We are grateful that HUD has recognized the tremendous need in Baltimore City to address this issue and improve the quality-of-life of our residents.”
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About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
GHHI is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health and racial equity through the creation of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. By delivering a standard of excellence in its work, GHHI aims to eradicate the negative health impacts of unhealthy housing and unjust policies for children, seniors and families to ensure better health, economic and social outcomes for low-income communities and communities of color. For more information about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, work and impacts, visit https://www.greenandhealthyhomes.org.
Jamie Fontaine, on behalf of GHHI