The National Dialogue on Green & Healthy Homes

Authors: Ruth Ann Norton, Executive Director, National Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

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As Green For All works to ensure energy efficiency is accessible to low and moderate income communities, we have seen the number of families that are forced to make a choice between making their homes healthy and making their homes green. The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative is hosting a live, on-line dialogue to generate ideas about how to overcome those barriers. We hope our members will participate.


Ms. Young is a Baltimore homeowner whose son, DaWayne, is age 9. They live in a 1948 constructed, two story center unit row home. DaWayne had been hospitalized 7 times in 2009 due to asthma and developed pneumonia due to the lack of heat in the property. Due to his repeated hospitalizations, DaWayne missed numerous days at school, causing Ms. Young to also miss work. Their home did not have a functioning furnace for 5 years nor a functioning hot water heater for several months. Their home was plagued by mold, allergens, mice infestation, poor weatherization, water leakage, a lack of insulation, poor air quality, air leakage, lack of adequate temperature control, and inefficient appliances. After being referred to Baltimore’s Green and Healthy Homes Initiative program, Ms. Young received a comprehensive assessment of the health and energy needs of her home, had a single point of contact to coordinate all of the housing work, and in an integrated fashion, had all of her housing issues addressed. DaWayne has not gone back to the emergency room in over a year, sleeps through the night, has made the honor roll at school, and Ms. Young has been promoted.

The work in Baltimore started by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning has led to a national movement to integrate actions and braid public and private funds to support the creation of Green and Healthy Homes. GHHI is now underway in 12 cities and two Indian Tribal Communities – but with support from HUD, CDC, the Department of Energy and the Council on Foundations, GHHI is providing a platform for national implementation.

The 4 central goals of GHHI are:

  • The creation of stable and sustainable green and healthy homes
  • The development of sustainable community-based “green collar” jobs
  • Government innovation in housing and health services
  • Measurable improvements in health outcomes for children and families

In partnership with the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), GHHI is sponsoring a National Dialogue to catalyze ideas and lift up best practices for integrating health, safety, energy efficiency and weatherization interventions in low- to moderate-income homes to provide children, families, and communities with safe and sustainable housing.

The National Dialogue on Green & Healthy Homes begins on Thursday, November 4 and runs through November 21 with NAPA serving as host. This web-based “conversation” will engage the green and healthy homes community in an open, online dialogue to:

  • Discuss challenges
  • Generate innovative ideas
  • Recommend ways to improve policy integration

This interactive online dialogue is different from a web chat or a survey – it will be live 24/7, during which participants will be able to log on and join the discussion by submitting their own ideas and voting and commenting on the ideas of others. Because the dialogue is hosted by the independent National Academy of Public Administration, it will be a neutral space for participants to openly discuss their experiences and perspectives.

Log on now to participate starting Nov. 4 at:
www.greenandhealthyhomesdialogue.org

The input received from participants in this Dialogue will be used to help inform the work of the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative as well as the efforts of other groups working to develop best practice models and recommendations to make the Nation’s older housing stock energy efficient, healthy, and safe.

For more information on the Dialogue please contact our partner Danielle Germain, NAPA Project Director (202) 204-3632 ▪ dgermain@napawash.org

I invite you join in the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative movement by engaging your City or Community as a GHHI partner. To learn more, log on to www.ghhi.org.

Thank you,

Ruth Ann Norton
Executive Director
National Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

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