National Nonprofits Plan to Combine Forces to Advance Healthy Homes and Communities
National Nonprofits Will Combine Forces to Advance Healthy Homes and Communities
Washington, DC (January 20, 2010) – The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) and the Alliance for Healthy Homes (Alliance) today announced their plans to join forces. The consolidated organization will continue to operate as the National Center for Healthy Housing, led by Rebecca Morley, with offices in Columbia, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Patrick MacRoy, former executive director of the Alliance, will lead NCHH’s community-based initiatives.
The merger will consolidate all aspects of healthy homes within a single organization: research and evaluation, policy advocacy, consumer education, training, and assistance to local governments and community-based organizations. Nearly 5.7 million families live in substandard housing conditions placing millions of children at risk for asthma, cancer, lead poisoning, and injuries. As a unified organization, the groups will be better able to serve the interests of these families.
“We are thrilled that this merger consolidates all aspects of healthy homes under one roof – good science, policy savvy, education and training, technical assistance, and partnerships that connect and reinforce national-level work with community-based change,” said Don Ryan, who was one of the founders of both organizations and is an NCHH board member. Ryan added that all aspects of NCHH’s work will continue, and will be complemented by the addition of the Alliance’s support of community-based organizations.
“This merger will allow us to better focus on the critical policy issues impacting health and housing,” stated Anne Evens, chair of the board of directors for the Alliance for Healthy Homes. “The result will be a more effective and strategic voice in Washington to promote healthy housing.”
Several valuable communication tools will continue, including the Healthyhomesnet and Leadnet listservs, which are widely used by advocates, policy makers, and practitioners in the healthy homes field.
“Impacted communities need a strong voice in DC; one that Washington needs to heed. Combining the Alliance and NCHH creates a force to be reckoned with—bringing scientific credibility and sensible action to the real world problem of unsafe housing,” said Linda Kite, Director of the Healthy Homes Collaborative in Los Angeles and a champion of tenants’ rights in low-income communities of color.
With today’s announcement, NCHH unveiled several new initiatives to accelerate national progress on healthy homes:
- The Healthy Homes and Communities Initiative – In recognition that housing quality is inextricably linked to socioeconomic disparities and resultant neighborhood conditions, the Healthy Homes and Communities Initiative will promote systemic approaches for assessing, planning, and achieving sustainable communities that are firmly based on research evidence and sound data. With and for government and community partners, NCHH will map out strategies to embed public health and environmental justice into community planning and development.
- Housing Code Project – Housing codes, when enforced, provide the strongest and most direct legal tool for preventing and correcting indoor health hazards. Through the Housing Code Project, the consolidated organization will redouble efforts to support local advocates in making needed changes to rental housing codes.
- The First National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition Summit – In April, the combined organization will host the first convening of the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, which will bring together advocates, policy makers, scientists and others to strategize about healthy homes policy implementation.
- The healthy homes blog – Building on the track record of both organizations in keeping key stakeholders informed of policy and technical issues, the healthy homes blog will enable real-time notices and discussion of important developments in public health, environmental health, and affordable housing that impact children’s environmental health. The blog will further broaden the base of supporters for healthy housing and provide more in depth commentary to share knowledge, experience, and strategies for improving the nation’s housing.