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Improving Health, Economic, and Social Outcomes Through Integrated Housing Intervention

By Ruth Ann Norton and Brendan Brown

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, Maryland, grew out of the organization’s historical healthy homes work in 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 with asthma.


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