The National Healthy Homes Conference, held in Denver, CO June 20-23, was a resounding success. Sponsored by several federal agencies and planned with a number of public, private, and non-profit entities, the conference provided unparalleled access to Healthy Homes movers and shakers nationwide. Most of the NASCSP Energy Services staff, including all of the Healthy Homes staff took part in the event, along with approximately 2,000 participants. We took this opportunity to highlight our new Weatherization Plus Health initiative and spread the word about WAP.
Each day of the conference started off with a Plenary Session with high-profile speakers from federal agencies, the philanthropic world, private business, academia, and, even television. Highlights included Mike Holmes, from HGTV’s “Holmes on Homes,” who energized the crowd with his charisma and common-sense argument for ensuring that the homes we live in are healthy and safe. Also, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, spoke at length about the Affordable Care Act and its focus on maintaining and promoting healthy indoor environments, framing healthy homes as a major element of effective preventative care. Additionally, Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, detailed the innovative way that his non-profit incorporates the principles of healthy homes and energy efficiency into its business model. These disparate speakers distilled the message of Healthy Homes through their particular filters, providing valuable insights into the different approaches and strategies that can be employed to put Healthy Homes in the spotlight.
With eight tracks and over 150 different sessions, NASCSP staff took advantage of the variety to attend sessions on a wide range of topics, such as best practices for developing cost-effective healthy homes projects, research on the impact of home repair on resident health, and tips for forming lasting partnerships to meet the needs of low-income families comprehensively. We also presented in three sessions, providing information about the Weatherization Plus Health initiative, an overview of the Weatherization Assistance Program, as well as an in-depth overview on carbon monoxide. These well-attended sessions allowed us to share the good work of the WAP network and emphasize the opportunity for partnerships.
A NASCSP booth in the exhibit hall provided an excellent opportunity to spread the word about Weatherization Plus Health and start the groundwork for promoting partnerships. With help from Veterans Green Jobs, a WAP sub-grantee in Denver, NASCSP’s booth was equipped with many different weatherization tools, including a blower door, an infrared camera, a gas-leak detector, and a prop that demonstrated the differences in heat-resistance and air flow between dense pack sidewall and batt insulation. We drew a large crowd due to our new Weatherization Plus Health giveaways and handouts highlighting the work and effectiveness of CSBG and WAP. Visitors were impressed with the scope of our project and we generated much interest in our five remaining regional conferences. On the final day of the conference, we won the award for best booth exhibit. We are very proud of this award, which shows the effectiveness of our message and is a testament to our members, partnering organizations and agencies, and the programs that we champion.
Attending the National Healthy Homes Conference was an important opportunity to meet with partners, learn of other initiatives, and connect with organizations nationwide. We came back to DC as celebrities, with a nearly two-second camera shot of NASCSP staff setting up our booth that had aired on Denver’s local news channel!
Going forward, we will keep the momentum of Weatherization Plus Health going as the regional conference schedule continues, picking back up in August in Bozeman, Montana. We hope to see you there!