Skip to content

Center for American Progress Addresses Lead Exposure in Low-Income Communities


Press Contact: Leslie Zarker, 301-300-9529

July 20, 2016


Ruth Ann Norton Joins HUD Secretary Castro on CAP Panel of Experts

Washington, DC – Today Ruth Ann Norton, President & CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, joined U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and a distinguished panel of experts convened by the Center for American Progress to discuss strategies for ending childhood lead poisoning.

Decades after ending the use of lead in paint and other sources, lead poisoning remains one of the nation’s most devastating health threats, affecting more than 535,000 children each year, particularly in low-income communities. Such exposure diminishes children’s reading and learning abilities and increases their likelihood of dropping out of school.

“We recognize the outstanding work our panelists are doing – both by implementing best practice strategies that create lead-free homes, and by demonstrating how leaders across sectors can work together to ensure that every child lives in an environment conducive to their success,” said Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

Norton’s fellow panelists included Betsy Hodges, Mayor of Minneapolis, and David Fukuzawa, Managing Director of Health and Human Services Programs at The Kresge Foundation.

GHHI, formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, has been developing healthy home intervention programs for low income communities since 1993, distinctive for their focus on aligning local partners with other housing, energy and health providers to braid and coordinate scarce resources.  In Maryland the organization’s leadership is credited with reducing lead poisoning in children by 98 percent. GHHI is in 25 cities or communities nationwide, working with local, state and federal partners to implement comprehensive healthy home interventions that improve health, economic and social outcomes for children, families and seniors.

As a national leader in lead poisoning prevention, GHHI’s Norton has worked closely with HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes since 1993. She has authored over 30 pieces of healthy housing legislation and has served as manager, senior advisor or principal for numerous federally funded grant programs to combat unhealthy housing.

“Today’s discussion on cross sector strategies for lead poisoning prevention is so important,” said Ruth Ann Norton. “GHHI is committed to the elimination of childhood lead poisoning, and has released a Strategic Plan—with support from philanthropy, the private sector and government—calling on all leaders to come together and work collaboratively to end this tragic, costly, yet entirely preventable problem that robs our children of the ability to excel in school and succeed in life.”

The GHHI model provides a one-stop-shop for families seeking housing intervention programs and related funding. Whole-home interventions can include remediating lead, mold and safety hazards, reducing asthma triggers, installing energy efficient upgrades to weatherize the home and educating residents on proper maintenance and energy reduction strategies. These comprehensive interventions not only stabilize individual homes, but strengthen communities by allowing residents to remain in properties that they would otherwise have to vacate.

In addition to its direct service programs, GHHI’s work includes technical assistance and capacity building for the field; training, economic analysis and policy and standards development; and sustainable funding for the creation of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes for low income communities. GHHI is currently leading national efforts to build the case for Medicaid investment in evidenced-based healthy housing interventions as well as the development of Pay for Success/Social Impact Bonds.

About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

GHHI is a national nonprofit dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI replaces stand-alone intervention programs with an integrated, whole-house approach that produces healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. As a result, we are improving health, economic and social outcomes for families across the country. GHHI serves as the national model for green and healthy homes interventions and is currently working in Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Flint, Jackson, Lansing, Lewiston Auburn, Marin County, New Haven, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, the state of Rhode Island, Salt Lake, San Antonio, Staten Island and Greater Syracuse.



Share This