The New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program: Findings from an Evaluation of a Large-Scale, Multisite, State-Funded Healthy Homes Program

Project Funder: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Project Partner: The New York State Department of Health

Project Contact: Amanda Reddy, areddy@nchh.org, 443.539.4152

Project Description: Evidence suggests that a comprehensive healthy homes approach may be an effective strategy for improving housing hazards that affect health, but questions remain about the feasibility of large-scale implementation. From 2008 to 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded a study to evaluate the impact of a large-scale, multisite, state-funded healthy homes program. The New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program (NYS HNP) is distinct from previously evaluated programs in its scale, geographic scope, and funding structure. Although the program is nearly 30 years old, the evaluation focused on a five-year period after the implementation of a standardized data collection instrument. This unique data set included information about services provided to more than 29,000 homes with 82,000 residents in 13 counties across the state of New York.

This study used assessment data from 28,491 homes in high-risk neighborhoods across 13 counties in New York State. The majority of occupants were low-income renters living in buildings built prior to 1950.

Following the NYS HNP’s low-intensity healthy homes protocol, homes received a visual assessment to identify potential environmental health and safety hazards, and interventions (such as education, referrals, and products) were provided to address any hazards identified during the visit. Roughly 22% of the homes (6,436 dwellings) also received a follow-up assessment (“revisit”) three to six months post-intervention. The study assessed the proportion of homes affected by several types of housing hazards, the improvement in hazards among revisited homes, and the change in the overall number of hazards per home.

The study determined that there were significant improvements in tobacco control, fire safety, lead poisoning prevention, indoor air quality, and other hazards (including pests and mold) among the homes that were revisited, as well as a significant decrease in the number of hazards per home (2.8 to 1.5; P < .001); however, homes were not hazard-free at the revisit.

The evaluation suggests that a comprehensive, low-intensity healthy housing approach can produce short-term impacts with public health significance.

Resources

Reddy, A. L., Gomez, M., & Dixon, S. L. (2017, March-April). The New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program: Findings from an evaluation of a large-scale, multisite, state-funded healthy homes programJournal of Public Health Management and Practice, 23(2), 210-218.

Digital Supplement 1: NYSDOH Healthy Neighborhoods Program and Asthma Forms [pdf] Digital Supplement 2: Conditions Considered for the Housing Hazard Score [pdf] Digital Supplement 3: NYSDOH Healthy Neighborhoods Program Scannable Form User Manual [pdf] Digital Supplement 4: Bivariate Associations between Pairs of Housing Hazards [pdf]

Related Studies

In a series of three peer-reviewed articles, we presented findings from a retrospective evaluation of this large-scale, multisite, state-funded healthy homes initiative. These are the other two projects related to this evaluation:

An Evaluation of a State-Funded Healthy Homes Intervention on Asthma Outcomes in Adults and Children [url]

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of a State-Funded Healthy Homes Program for Residents with Asthma: Findings from the New York State Healthy Neighborhoods Program [url]