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Healthy Homes Initiative

The Healthy Homes Partnership provides, through a growing network of state coordinators, information about home health hazards and steps that can be taken to avoid them. Healthy Homes focuses on supporting individuals in voluntary actions to prevent injuries at home. It translates findings from the latest research into simple standards and guidelines through a series of products and materials intended to mobilize individual actions and to improve environmental decision-making skills.

The initiative is a partnership between the NIFA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Auburn University provides ongoing coordination of this national Initiative, and it facilitates networking and communication among the federal agencies, states, and educators involved in healthy home programming.

Families face significant health threats in the place people tend to think of as safest—at home. Accidents in the home injure more than 6 million people each year, the number of children with asthma has doubled in the last 10 years, and lead exposure has become one of the most common pediatric health problems in the United States today.

In our safety-conscious society, people are often inundated with information about safety and their environment—air, water, soil, buildings, and technologies that surround them—and the impacts of their actions on their environments and their own health. The array of confusing, and sometimes conflicting, information about environment and behavior can leave people feeling overwhelmed, confused, and reluctant to try productive actions.

The Healthy Homes Partnership builds on the activities of NIFA and HUD that address housing-based health and safety risks. Program activities include:

  • The booklet Help Yourself to a Healthy Home is a self-help guide on home health issues. Available in English and Spanish, it provides simple action steps to improve home safety.

  • The Healthy Homes Partnership hosted a national satellite videoconference to provide updates on select topics covered in the Help Yourself to a Healthy Home booklet: asthma, mold, and integrated pest management. Through video case studies, participants learned about Healthy Homes programs in various settings nationwide. The program also featured presentations by content experts on mold, asthma, and integrated pest management. This event was viewed at 200 sites nationwide, and in each of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's 81 field offices. Videocassette copies are available through the University of Wisconsin.

The Healthy Homes Partnership works through coordinators in 37 states. Examples of recent programs include:

  • Minnesota uses the Healthy Homes materials to supplement homebuyer and tenant education programs, home visits by nutrition education assistants, and presentations to Head Start Program parents. They were included in presentations to Hispanic parenting classes and tenant education programs for migrant workers.

  • North Carolina has developed a Healthy Homes program kit that includes lessons that correspond to the five areas in the Help Yourself to a Healthy Homes booklet. There are corresponding PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and laminated flipchart materials for each lesson. Evaluation instruments were developed for use by county educators in assessing the impact of their programs and partnerships.

  • Louisiana has integrated Healthy Homes information into Louisiana's “Safety First” and “Creating a Learning Environment” campaigns and offered as continuing education credit classes to child care workers throughout Louisiana. The program has also included home safety and healthy home materials in a first-time homebuyer curriculum.



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