EVENT SUMMARY: Strategy for Action to Advance Healthy Housing

— Re-posted from the Weatherization Plus Health blog

On Monday, February 4th, the federal Healthy Homes Work Group (HHWG) held an event at the National Building Museum to launch the new Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action. The Strategy lays out the goals and priorities of the HHWG to advance healthy housing initiatives for the next three to five years nationwide. The event also highlighted the publication of HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing’s new radon testing and mitigation requirements for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured multifamily mortgage applications for new construction and significant rehabilitation, and certain FHA-insured refinancing programs. These important steps show that the federal government is taking home health seriously and Weatherization Plus Health is ready to step up to the plate.

The event featured leaders from the six federal agencies who make up HHWG, as well as non-profit partners focused on energy, health, and housing issues. The agencies that created The Strategy introduced themselves and provided an overview of the five goals of the Strategy:

  • Goal 1: Establish Healthy Homes Recommendations
  • Goal 2: Encourage Adoption of Healthy Homes Recommendations
  • Goal 3: Create and Support Training and Workforce Development to Address Health Hazards in Housing
  • Goal 4: Educate the Public about Healthy Homes
  • Goal 5: Support Research that Informs and Advances Healthy Housing in a Cost-Effective Manner

Speakers emphasized the effect that healthy housing initiatives have on low-income families by improving their health and safety, as well as the complementary role that the low-income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) can play. David Poneman, DOE Deputy Secretary and Anna Garcia, Program Manager for DOE Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs highlighted the thousands of people WAP put back to work while weatherizing over one million homes during the Recovery Act period. They also noted WAP saves families in the range of $200-$400 in income that can then be used for other necessities like food and medicine. Other partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), applauded DOE and WAP’s unheralded commitment to energy efficiency and existing health and safety component. Attendees took time to recognize WAP Furnace Specialist Carl Harvey’s life-saving work – truly an example of WAP’s impact and reach.

WAP is a key player in the advancement of healthy housing initiatives, touching more low-income homes than any other program. To learn more about how WAP works with healthy homes, visit WxPlusHealth.org.

Please watch a video recording of the event. The federal Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action and the Radon Notice will be live soon. Check back for more updates or sign up for our email lists to be kept informed.