Three Pathways


In January 2014, the Healthy Homes Coalition began holding a series of one-on-one conversations with community leaders. We expected to get the word out about our mission. What we didn't expect was to be blessed with insightful guidance on how that mission can be advanced so that all children grow up in healthy housing.

These conversations have the leadership of the Healthy Homes Coalition rethinking our work. While our essential mission will remain the same, it has become increasingly clear that there are three opportunities to take this work to the next level.

Currently the Healthy Homes Coalition uses more of a “shotgun” approach, reaching out broadly to the public in the hopes that parents will engage. That approach has worked very well for us so far so it is tempting to continue to do more of the same. But if we are to truly advance our mission to make sure ALL children’s homes are safe, our approach will need to be refined and linked to other prevailing systems and initiatives.

One way to think about these opportunities is by using the metaphor of upstream-downstream, with those upstream being the most preventative and those downstream being the most urgent. Here are the three pathways we will be exploring in 2014, working our way upstream. Do any of them resonate with you? Can you help us think about the most efficient and effective way to do this work? If you have ideas, we’d love to hear from you.

  • Pathway #1: Intervention. This would be a medical response model where referrals are made for unmanaged asthma, elevated blood lead levels, and other health conditions to prevent reoccurrence. This model would work towards securing reimbursement for housing services that have a health impact as allowed for under new rules promoted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  This approach would bring the Healthy Homes Coalition into close partnership with health care providers and payment programs.
  • Pathway #2: Secondary Prevention. This pathway would screen and offer prevention and intervention services to children participating in early childhood education (3-4 years of age). There is currently a lot of energy for early childhood education. This approach would seek to attract additional resources to maximize the impact of early childhood education by making sure housing conditions do not work cross-purposes by lead poisoning kids or keeping them home from school due to poorly managed asthma. It would be a targeted approach that makes sure resources reach the children with greatest need through effective screening.
  • Pathway #3: Primary Prevention. This pathway would partner with early childhood home visitation programs to screen and offer prevention services that make homes healthier for children birth through two years of age. Healthy Homes would support community health workers, home visitors and other professionals with efficient and effective professional development that allows them to successfully advocate for housing conditions that promote healthy childhood development. Recognizing the limited time that such home visitation programs have to spend on complex issues like housing, the Healthy Homes Coalition would then offer supportive services to identified families of need. This approach would be about integrating services in the earliest years of life.

What do you think about these three approaches? Do you have ideas? Drop us a line.