The Office of Economic Opportunity is happy to announce the awarding of funds to three agencies to operate a Healthy Homes (HH) Program in 2015. These funds were approved from the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) for the second year as a component of our LIHEAP funding. The overall goal of the Healthy Homes Program is to comprehensively and strategically coordinate resources to improve the energy efficiency, health and safety of low-income homes. OEO feels all three projects meet the goal and we look forward to supporting the success of each project.
The Healthy Homes projects will run from February 1, 2015 to September 30, 2015. Each proposal has unique components that meet the requirements of funding announcement and the needs of the community each agency serves. A brief description of each program is below:
The Healthy Homes Initiative Program was operated in 2014 by CHANGE, Inc. to address chronic disease management by taking a comprehensive approach and focusing on housing related hazards in a coordinated fashion. The program accepted referrals from CHANGE, Inc.’s Community Health Center for patients with asthma related conditions to provide free in-home health and safety evaluations which reviewed a variety of environmental health and safety concerns including mold, lead, allergens, asthma, carbon monoxide, home safety, pesticides, and radon. The program also provided a number of products and/or services to assist in the environmental health and safety of the home such as professional cleaning services, hepa vacuums, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers.
For 2015, CHANGE, Inc. has been awarded $87,000. The Healthy Homes Initiative Program will be expanded to include allergy and sinus related conditions and existing Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) clients with health and safety issues beyond the scope of the WAP with a goal of completing audits and education on 20 homes.
Mountain CAP of WV, Inc., a CDC:
Mountain CAP of WV has been awarded $29,590. The Healthy Homes: Upshur County Respiratory Project’s goal is to improve indoor air quality for participants, thereby reducing the number of respiratory attacks they suffer so that the individual, family, and community will all benefit from improved health. The plan for reaching this goal is through providing client education on indoor air quality and its effect on health, supplying items that are directly related to reducing indoor air pollutants, and affecting changes in habits and behaviors related to respiratory triggers. This project is mirrored after the successful Lowell Healthy Homes Project from Massachusetts, as documented in the April 2014 American Journal of Public Health. As documented in the Lowell report from that project, outcomes of this program project anticipate to include a decrease in the amount of medical services needed by the participant by a reduction in: the amount of asthma or COPD medicine utilized, the frequency of inhaler usage, and the number of unplanned medical visits due to asthma or COPD complications. In addition, the Mountain CAP program hopes to see a calculated increase in participants’ health and wellbeing, as evidenced by an improvement in their feelings of healthfulness and by an increase in their ability to perform normal activities. This may be further indicated by a reduction in missed days at work or school, and by completing homework or improving grades for children.
PRIDE Community Services, Inc.:
PRIDE Community Services has been awarded $70,510. The Logan County Healthy Homes Initiative plans to establish itself as a Network Training Partner with The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) through Healthy Housing Solutions, Inc. This will advance the cause and awareness of the Healthy Homes movement and establish a means to train knowledgeable and qualified Healthy Homes practitioners within the state of West Virginia. This will ensure the availability of credential/qualified Healthy Homes Specialists for Logan County and the State of West Virginia. Partnerships and an awareness campaign will be created that will increase education, outreach, and awareness of the Healthy Homes Initiative.
PRIDE Community Services will also collaborate with its WAP to implement a process to address the environmental health and safety issues that are present in low-income homes. By working concurrently with the WAP program, the agency will be able to fully address, in a comprehensive manner, the energy needs as well as health and safety needs of families who may not be able to financially address housing related issues that could very well be causing health problems for the residents. The desire is to improve the living conditions, health, and safety of low-income residents in Logan County. The goal is to provide Healthy Homes assessments to 25 WAP eligible customers using the Healthy Homes Manager application that will provide a report of all health and safety issues that exist within the home. The agency will provide education designed to supply and equip low-income residents with knowledge to adopt self-protective behaviors with respect to residential health hazards.
OEO looks forward to working with the agencies above that have been awarded funds to operate a Healthy Homes Program in their respective communities and hopes to share success stories of how this project has made a positive impact on the lives of those served.