Shawana purchased her 1936 Baltimore Highlands home in 2001 before she became a mother to three active sons: 11-year-old Juan, 9-year-old Javier and 5-year-old Josue. Over time, as her home filled with family and boyhood activities, it also became a health hazard: water leaked through the basement floor causing mold growth, mice infested the kitchen and the paint chipped and peeled. Poor air quality and poor insulation made Josue’s asthma so severe that he could not play with his older brothers. In the year before GHHI’s home interventions, his asthma episodes sent him to the hospital six times. These hospitalizations caused Shawana to miss 14 days of work and Josue to miss 14 days of school. The Baltimore City Health Department referred the family to Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Baltimore (GHHI Baltimore) for help.
GHHI Baltimore conducted a comprehensive assessment of the home that revealed water damage and mold on the window frames and in the basement, deteriorated flooring, missing lighting fixtures and extreme air loss due to a lack of weatherization. The GHHI Baltimore team completed an intensive intervention to address alleviate Josue’s asthma triggers and fix the lead and safety hazards in the home. They removed the carpet and repaired the floors, remediated the lead and mold, repaired the downspout, performed integrated pest management and installed bathroom venting and light fixtures. A GHHI health educator visited the family on a regular basis to help with asthma management counseling and continued education on how to reduce energy consumption.
In the year following the intervention, Josue has not returned to the hospital for asthma and has only missed one day of school due to asthma episodes. He now enjoys playing football and basketball with his brothers. The intervention resulted in an estimated medical savings of at least $25,200, due to avoided asthma-related medical costs and hospitalizations. Because GHHI remediated the lead hazards, Josue and his brothers are no longer at risk of lead poisoning. The weatherization work has reduced the family’s energy consumption and energy costs.
“The doctors told me what to do about Josue’s asthma, but Green & Healthy Homes showed me things that I could do to help my son get better and things that I would need to do in my house to make his asthma go away,” Shawana explained. “They made a big difference for him, and for our family.”