NCHH at 25: Our First Quarter-Century
of “Better Housing, Better Health”

September 4, 2017, marked the National Center for Healthy Housing’s 25th anniversary. This page is dedicated to the events, publications, memories, and people who have made this organization special. We hope that you’ll visit this page often to see photos from our past and present; to read, watch, and listen to stories from NCHH’s history; and enjoy some other surprises that we have planned.

Founding and Early Years

The Fannie Mae Foundation created the National Center for Lead-Safe Housing (as it was known at the time) in September 1992, using a $5.2 million donation from its outgoing president, David Maxwell. At the time, the grant was the Fannie Mae Foundation’s largest gift ever. The purpose of the gift was to create a nonprofit organization that would represent, with the Alliance for Healthy Homes (a District of Columbia-based nonprofit organization) and the Enterprise Foundation (now Enterprise Community Partners) serving as parent organizations, the first national joint venture between affordable housing and environmental public health advocates.

Walter G. “Nick” Farr, a vice president with the Enterprise Foundation, was asked to lead the new nonprofit. Joining Farr as the deputy director at the fledgling organization was Dr. David Jacobs, a technical expert on lead-based paint safety. Prior to joining the National Center for Lead-Safe Housing, Dr. Jacobs had been a faculty research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The two men assembled a team of researchers, housing professionals, advocates, and others to chart the nation’s path to primary prevention of childhood lead poisoning.

Over the next few years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) challenged the center to compose a definitive source of national technical guidelines for dealing with lead-based paint, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked the center to develop robust scientific studies in order to understand sources and pathways of lead exposure, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested research to assess the hazards of lead-contaminated dust. Cushing Dolbeare, a preeminent affordable housing advocate and board member of both the new center and the Alliance for Healthy Homes, chaired a congressionally chartered task force in 1995 with a vision for making the nation’s housing stock lead-safe, demanding changes in state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances.

In 2001, the center was one of the first to recognize publicly that homes with lead paint problems typically posed several other health threats as well; they argued that addressing these hazards separately was both ineffective and inefficient.

Recognizing the need and their capability to address more home hazards than lead-based paint, the board of directors opted to change the organization’s name from the National Center for Lead-Safe Housing to the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) in 2001. The larger scale inferred by the change of the organization’s name allowed NCHH to expand the scope of its mission significantly; it would now focus not only on lead, still a major priority, but also other housing-related health hazards and causes, such as asthma, mold, and integrated pest management. Still, NCHH’s core values and priorities remained unchanged: to find proven, practical, and cost-effective ways of protecting families from home health hazards, especially those at highest risk in older, low-income homes.

Nick Farr retired from the organization in 2001 but remained in touch with his friends and colleagues at NCHH until his passing in 2014.

Staff and Board Legacy

The National Center for Healthy Housing wishes to thank everyone who played a role in the genesis or success of this organization.

NCHH Staff (Current) NCHH Staff (Former)
Christopher Bloom
Sharif Braxton
Jill Breysse
Sherry Dixon
Laura Fudala
Sarah Goodwin
Michelle Harvey
Akilah Hill
David Jacobs
Chelsea McCracken
Jacob Miller
Jo Miller
Amy Murphy
Amanda Reddy
Darcy Scott
Jonathan WIlson

Susan Aceti
Lillian Agbeyegbe
Judith Akoto
Jack Anderson
Linda Bergofsky
Ethel Bledsoe
Evelyne Bloomer
Treesa Boyce
Rose Green Colby
Karen Dennis
Ray Dennis
Ella Dobson
Phillip Dodge
Nancy Rockett Eldridge
Benjamin Erikson-Farr
Connie Etheridge
Crystal Evans
Rebecca Fahey
Walter G. “Nick” Farr
Esther Gadomski
Warren Galke
Shara Godiwalla
Peggy Hegarty-Steck
Chineye Isichei
Earl Johnston
Desiree Jones
Ron Jones
Tara Jordan Radosevich
Carol Kawecki
Rebecca Kliman-Hudson
Ruth Klotz-Chamberlin
Glenda Kruger
Julie Kruse
Ruth Lindberg
Jessica Lucas
Patrick MacRoy
Jane Malone
Pat McClaine
Maureen McKee
Kim Monroe
Laura Moreno-Davis
Rebecca Morley
Heidi Most
Tom Neltner
Don Ryan
Amy McLean Salls
Song Seo
Wendy Shields
Tammy Sproule
Laura Titus
NCHH Board (Current) NCHH Board (Former)
C. Patrick Chaulk
Joan Cleary
Joycelyn Elders
Marcheta Gillam
Mark James
Sandra Brock Jibrell
Christopher M. Jones
JoAnne “JoJo” Liebeler
Elyse Pivnick
Saúl Ramirez
Michael Rizer
Paul Brophy
Mary Jean Brown
Larry Dale
Dave Dennison
Cushing Dolbeare
Anne Evens
Deeohn Ferris
Karen Florini
Cora Fulmore
Art Godi
Stu Greenberg
Ben Hecht
Kelvin Holloway
Judith Kurland
Ellen Lazar
John Monahan
Oramenta Newsome
Jerry Paulson
Stephanie Pollack
Dave Rall
Rey Ramsey
Anne Romasco
Don Ryan
Megan Sandel
Madeleine Shea
Ellen Silbergeld
Peter Simon
Ron Sims
Tom Vernon
Peter Werwath
Charlie Wilkins
Robert Orrin Wright
Solutions Staff (Current) Solutions Staff (Former)
Susan Aceti
Jackson Anderson
Noreen Beatley
Peter Blood
Carlotta Joyner
Carol Kawecki
Samar Khoury
Carmen Pelletier
Laura Titus
Rajiv Bhatia
Dominique Clark
Joanna Gaitens
Stan Galik
Arnie Katz
Tom Kelly
Gordon McKay
Amy Murphy
Charley Naney
Rick Nevin
Michelle Nusum-Smith
Sharon Pendleton
Amanda Reddy
Cynthia Taylor
Richard Tobin
Anne Wengrovitz
Sarah Wylie
Joseph Wysocki
NCHH Interns and Fellows Key Partners and Advocates
Abigail Baum
Amanda Bennett Rivera
Daniel Breysse
Lauren Dixon
Julia Dougherty
Erica Kea-Muhammad
Kate Kuholski Manchisi
Sawyer Mittelstaedt
Michelle Parks DeCaro
Maggie Smith
Kristina Souders
Ashley Tieperman
Krista Woodward
Meng Xu
Bart Harvey
Linda Kite
Dennis Livingston
Armand Magnelli
Tom Matte
David Maxwell
Bob Santucci
Ellen Tohn