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Making Home Home Again

Dorothy, a single mom, has lived in the same 1925 two story row home in Baltimore since she was five years old. She shares the home with her two daughters, 13-year-old Shaquana and 4-year-old Labree. Like so many older properties, Dorothy’s proud family home eventually fell into desperate need of repair. The walls had chipping and peeling paint. The roof leaked whenever it rained, breeding mold. Mice and cockroaches regularly made an appearance, and the home was poorly insulated. Both of Dorothy’s daughters suffer from asthma, and Labree had been hospitalized 13 times due to severe asthma episodes. A referral from the Baltimore City Health Department brought in Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Baltimore (GHHI Baltimore) to help.

GHHI Baltimore conducted a comprehensive assessment of the home to prepare for an integrated intervention. During the intervention, the team replaced 11 windows, repaired the roof, gutters and downspouts, stabilized the lead paint, performed integrated pest management, installed air filtering unit in the children’s bedroom, remediated mold and sealed air leaks. To sustain the improvements, GHHI’s health educator taught the family effective cleaning methods that reduce asthma triggers and provided them with a HEPA-vacuum and an indoor allergen/lead dust prevention cleaning kit.

In the year following the intervention, Shaquana and Labree were breathing much easier, and did not return to the hospital, resulting in avoided medical costs of $53,000. By replacing the windows and sealing air leaks, the family reduced their natural gas usage by four percent and lowered their monthly utility bills.

“I am pleased with the services provided and the level of professionalism of the GHHI’s staff,” Dorothy said. “I am grateful that there are programs such as this to help people.”

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