State and local organizations are leading significant advances in healthy housing programs. There is a need to translate lessons learned and successes between jurisdictions and to inform national best practices. Similarly, there is much healthy housing activity underway at the national level that could benefit state and local practitioners. Since 1992, the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) has worked to build the capacity of states and localities to support healthy homes efforts by disseminating evidence-based best practices, providing training, developing new tools, fostering partnerships, and enabling peer-to-peer learning. NCHH is currently supporting six state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations through its Healthy Housing Capacity Building and Technical Assistance Initiative. This initiative is supported through a subcontract from the American Public Health Association (APHA) and funded through a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and APHA.
This initiative provided technical assistance (TA) and/or capacity building to solve a specific challenge or barrier to advancing healthy housing. Successful applicants received the following:
- 50 hours of TA from NCHH staff over a period of up to six months (between early December 2012 and May 31, 2013);
- One site visit (if needed) from NCHH staff to provide in-person TA and support;
- Opportunity to participate in four “learning network” webinars with other program participants. These meetings provided targeted trainings, highlighted relevant opportunities for healthy homes, and shared new research.
Recipients of the Healthy Housing Capacity Building and Technical Assistance Initiative
City of Rockford, Illinois – Rockford, IL: The City of Rockford is working to broaden their community’s capacity to address healthy homes by making most strategic use of a variety of programs, including weatherization, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) rehabilitation, lead abatement, and others. Additionally, the City of Rockford is seeking to expand their knowledge of additional resources and strategies to address healthy homes. NCHH TA will support the City of Rockford in developing a community wide approach to targeting, leveraging and blending resources to support healthy homes efforts in their community.
Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc. – Centereach, NY: The Long Island region is facing unprecedented housing needs, both for short term emergency housing and long term rebuilding, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. NCHH TA will assist the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc. (CDCLI) in its flood recovery efforts to ensure homes are cleaned and rehabilitated in a manner that protects health. NCHH TA will also assist CDCLI in its efforts to incorporate healthy homes elements into its retrofit and reconstruction standards. This includes addressing mold related issues.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation New York City – New York, NY: Two Shades of Green (TSG) is a collaborative model to integrate green, healthy and cost effective measures into affordable housing. NCHH TA will support Two Shades of Green’s organizational and funding development, strategic partnership creation, and tools to track impact, outcomes, and program evaluation. This project provides an opportunity to develop replicable best practices for the incorporation of healthy homes strategies into procedures of Community Development Corporations (CDCs), and developing a system to track the outcomes of these initiatives.
New Opportunities, Inc. – Waterbury, CT: New Opportunities, Inc. is conducting a health impact assessment (HIA) to examine the potential health impacts of incorporating various health and safety components into federally-funded and utility company-funded energy upgrades in homes across Connecticut. The HIA will be used to inform a best practice approach to the State of Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authorities’ three year plan for its weatherization and energy efficiency program. NCHH TA will support data analysis components of the HIA, the development of a communications plan to disseminate HIA findings, and the elevation of the HIA findings and process as a national model.
Opportunity Council – Bellingham, WA: Opportunity Council is working to establish strategic relationships with the philanthropic and health care sectors in order to prepare Whatcom County to obtain the Safe and Healthy Homes Investment Partnership (SHHIP) certification. NCHH TA will support Opportunity Council in developing a strategy for engaging with these new partners, including developing materials that better communicate the impacts of Opportunity Council programs and identifying opportunities and mechanisms for collaboration.
Oregon Health Authority – Portland, OR: The Oregon Health Authority is working to develop a more effective and collaborative system to address unsafe and unhealthy housing in Oregon. NCHH TA will assist the Oregon Health Authority in establishing and strengthening partnerships with their statewide building/housing code agency as well as the health care sector, specifically through the state’s newly created Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs). Additionally, NCHH TA will support the Oregon Health Authority and its Advisory Group as they finalize their statewide Healthy Homes Strategic Plan.