What is Healthy Homes for Educational Success?

The Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan and partners are developing a program calledHealthy Homes for Educational Success. This collaborative program aims to improve children's housing, resulting in improved child and family wellbeing, and thereby improving children's success in school.



The Healthy Homes for Educational Success program was developed out of a campagin called Fight for Healthy Homes. We met with leaders throughout the community to discuss ways we can work together to improve children's environmental health in the home. This program is a result of all those conversations combined to take the next steps in improving children's health and outcomes in life. You can read more about that campagin here.



A special thanks to the Dyer-Ives Foundation for making this program possible. 

Healthy Homes for
Educational Success

January 2016 Update

The Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan and partners met on September 17 for the second Healthy Homes for Educational Success all partner meeting. Program partners are engaged in and supportive of the updated program design.

Over the past few months, the Healthy Homes Coalition met with partner organizations to begin formalizing relationships through signing MOU's for the first program year (2016-2017). Additionally, work to determine program funding is underway. Conversations with the Governor's Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives occur regularly and the program proposal has received much positive feedback.

What's next?

You can help! The Healthy Homes Coalition is currently seeking short-term funding support to launch Healthy Homes for Educational Success. This investment will support the first 18 months of operation, including final program development and 12 months of operations including significant interventions for low-income families with priority hazards. Long-term, it is expected that the scope of the program will expand the to reach all 4,200 low-income preschool children with a screening with 5% of those children (210) receiving interventions. The Healthy Homes Coalition is developing this project with an eye towards sustainable revenue derived from those entities that share in the financial gain of early intervention. While foundation support may be needed for program launch and the first 1-3 years of operation, it is expected that the program can be positioned for self-sustaining revenue by year four.

With much positive feedback, Healthy Homes is currently working to determine both short- and long-term funding sources. Organizations interested in exploring Healthy Homes for Educational Success program sponsorship may contact the Healthy Homes Coalition.

Classroom resources

Though children spend most of their time at home, a large portion of their days are spent in the classroom as well. It is critical for the school environment not only to promote learning, but also to protect children’s health and wellbeing. The New Hampshire Asthma Collaborative provides resources on asthma triggers in the classroom at www.NHHealthySchoolEnvironments.org. Thank you to Cynthia Coviak for sharing these resources with us!



August 2015 Update

What's happening?

The Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan and partners are working together to develop Healthy Homes for Educational Success, a collaborative program to promote safe, quality housing for preschool-aged children and their younger siblings in Kent County, Michigan.

Why HH4ES?

The children that many preschool teachers and home visitors in Kent County work with come from families struggling to meet their basic needs, the same families that are vulnerable to poor housing quality. Teachers and home visitors have the unique opportunity to step inside these families' homes to get to know the situations of their students outside the classroom. Healthy Homes for Educational Success will allow teachers and home visitors to move beyond merely recognizing signs of poor housing quality, rather, it will allow them the opportunity to connect families to environmental health and housing intervention specialists and resources.

The Need

Many families in Kent County struggle economically—39% of Kent County families and 52% of Grand Rapids families struggle to meet their basic needs. Housing is typically the family’s largest budget item.[1] The How Housing Matters to Families and Communities Initiative found that poor housing quality is the strongest predictor of emotional and behavioral problems and poor academic performance (out of five housing characteristics studied in relation to children and education).[2] Clearly, addressing home environmental hazards must be a part of the strategy to promote children’s health, wellbeing, and educational success.

[1] United Way of Michigan’s ALICE data

[2] MacArthur Foundation


The Impact

How effective will Healthy Homes for Educational Success be? The program will target hazards that contribute to lead poisoning, asthma, and unintentional injuries—three of the four health concerns identified in the MDHHS Strategic Plan for Healthy Housing.[3] Program evaluation will look at health outcomes related to these— blood lead levels, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and Asthma Control Test scores. Family wellbeing will be measured by housing-related parental stress and missed days of work. Similarly, the program will measure school success through evaluating attendance, Kindergarten readiness (through Teaching Strategies Gold scores), special education diagnoses, third grade reading, and teacher satisfaction.

[3] MDHHS Strategic Plan for Healthy Housing



July 2015 Update

What's happening?

Initial meetings with all five program work groups have been held and next steps for program development are better defined. The Healthy Homes Coalition and partners at Wayne State University are continuing work to create an efficient home environment screening tool.

Case Management

The case management group met to discuss how housing interventions will be achieved while maintaining trust and transparency between the program, parents, and partners and how to keep parents in control of their housing decisions. The group discussed how parental consent for home environment screening can build trust between the program and families.


The intervention group met to discuss how home hazards found during screening will be further evaluated and then addressed. The group identified three options for home hazard assessment and began identifying home hazards and interventions in three areas that affect health and education.

Evaluation & Data

The evaluation & data group met to provide feedback on a draft logic model and discuss possibilities for desired outcomes. The group decided to change part of the logic model to include child and family wellbeing, so that the model includes mental and psychosocial health as well as physical health.

Professional Development

The professional development group met to define professional development training needs and educational materials for home visitors. The group identified motivating factors and types of materials to include in training for home visitors.


The resources group met to discuss program funding and drafted a budget projected to be approximately $1.15 million. The group was able to identify more than ten prospective funding sources that will be contacted as the program is developed.