The Alliance for Healthy Homes
The Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning was a nonprofit public interest organization exclusively dedicated to the elimination of childhood lead poisoning.
Formed in 1990 by national leaders in pediatrics, public health, environmental protection, affordable housing, education, civil rights, and children’s welfare, the Alliance was designed specifically to have the technical capacity, the credibility, the comprehensive reach across disciplines, and the wherewithal needed to effect change on a broad scale.
The Alliance’s mission was to frame the national agenda, formulate innovative approaches, and bring critical resources to bear – scientific and technical knowledge, public policy, economic forces, other organizations, and community leaders – to prevent childhood lead poisoning. The Alliance’s campaign encompassed three major areas of activity: education, policy support, and advocacy.
- Education: Raising awareness about the causes of and solutions to childhood lead poisoning is a prerequisite to progress on virtually all other fronts. The Alliance’s education efforts informed policy makers the press and the media, key private-sector players, health professionals, parents, property owners, and the general public of the need for prevention. In addition to directly benefiting at-risk children, education efforts broaden the base of individuals and groups who recognize their stake in prevention. The Alliance inspired the July 15, 1991, Newsweek cover story (“Lead and Your Kids”), which awakened the nation to the epidemic proportions of lead poisoning.
- Policy Support: The Alliance worked to strengthen government policies and programs to ensure that lead hazards are controlled before children are poisoned. The Alliance was instrumental in shaping and enacting Title X of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, which shifted the national focus from reaction to prevention. The Alliance also tackled issues related to defining hazards, setting priorities, targeting subsidies, developing private-sector incentives, and establishing standards for lead-safe housing. The Alliance’s global campaign helped accelerate the phase-out of leaded gasoline.
- Advocacy: The Alliance played a crucial advocacy role in accelerating national action by keeping pressure on federal agencies, overcoming private-sector obstacles, mobilizing resources, building a national network of state and local advocates for lead poisoning prevention, and enabling their engagement in federal policy and standards. The Alliance’s Model State Lead Poisoning Prevention Law assisted state and local advocates in pushing their legislatures towards primary prevention. The Alliance’s Community Environmental Health Resource Center (CEHRC) helped community-based organization master environmental sampling as a means to leverage action by rental property owners and local governments.
To meet the need for an objective, credible, science-based organization to define practical standards for lead-safe housing, the Alliance helped create its sister organization, NCHH. The Alliance and the Enterprise Foundation, NCHH’s two parent organizations, persuaded the Fannie Mae Foundation to make its largest ever grant of $5.2 million to create NCHH in 1992.
The Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning changed its name to Alliance for Healthy Homes in 2001 and expanded its mission to address other environmental health hazards posed by substandard housing. This more comprehensive approach proved to be a more effective way to protect children from lead poisoning as well as to control asthma triggers and a wide range of toxic exposures posed by substandard housing.
In 2009, the Alliance approached NCHH with the proposal of a merger. The merger was publicly announced January 20, 2010. NCHH became steward of all of AFHH’s assets and research; and three of the remaining AFHH staff became NCHH employees.
Alliance Staff, 1990-2010
Below is a list of confirmed Alliance staff who served between 1990 and 2010. This list may not be complete.
Patrick MacRoy (Executive Director, 2007-2010)*
Dorothy Maddox Holland
Anne Steyer Phelps
K.W. James Rochow
Don Ryan (Executive Director, 1990-2005)
Bob Zdenek (Executive Director, 2005-2007)
*Denotes Alliance employees who joined NCHH in the 2010 merger.
**Denotes current NCHH staff.