September 25th, 2009

NCHH State of Healthy Housing Report Featured in USA Today and Other Leading News Outlets

COLUMBIA, MD (September 25, 2009) – Various news outlets have reported about the State of Healthy Housing, the National Center for Healthy Housing’s new ranking of housing quality across U.S. metropolitan areas, some of which are linked below.

Study: 1 in 3 Homes in Metro Areas Could Pose Health Risks

By Wendy Koch, USA Today

One in three homes in U.S. metropolitan areas have at least one problem such as water leaks, peeling paint, holes or rodents that could harm residents’ health or safety, according to a first-of-its-kind study to be released Thursday.

“The sheer numbers of homes impacted are alarming,” says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, a non-profit research group that used Census Bureau data for the study.

“It is a wake-up call,” says Ron Sims, deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The report validates what we’ve been saying at HUD, that we need to restore homes. […] You can’t be healthy if your house is sick.”

Efforts to address all health risks posed by housing—similar to steps taken to remove lead and asbestos—are increasing. Morley says poor indoor air causes up to 40% of asthma, which has nearly tripled among children since 1980.

The acting U.S. surgeon general, Rear Adm. Steven Galson, issued a “call to action” in June to promote healthy housing. Sims says HUD is moving toward a requirement that all its projects meet new healthy housing standards.

The study is the first to compare metro areas based on 20 health-related housing characteristics in the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

Read the full article.

Cleveland Near the Worst on List of Cities with Unhealthy Homes

By Joan Mazzolini, The Plain Dealer

Cleveland has more unhealthy homes—with cracks in walls, exposed wires and leaky roofs—than most other cities nationwide.

In fact, Cleveland was second to last nationwide for having homes with problems that are considered unhealthy or dangerous, according to a study by the National Center for Healthy Housing, which surveyed housing conditions in 44 cities nationwide.

The survey, based on information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau over several years, looked at such things as holes in floors, peeling paint, leaks and foundations to get what the group says is the first snapshot of housing conditions in the nation.

Read the full article.

Healthy—and Not-So-Healthy—Homes

By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

If you’re a renter and have issues with your place, you’re in good company. Half the rentals in the Baltimore metro area had at least one problem in 2007. But don’t feel bad — 41 percent of owner-occupied homes did, too.

Those are two nuggets from a new report by the Columbia-based National Center for Healthy Housing, which used federal American Housing Survey data on 45 metro areas to show “a critical need to improve housing conditions in many U.S. cities.” The nonprofit group says substandard residences can cause illness, injury or death.

Read the full article.

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