On Thursday, April 25, the Kent County Board of Commissioners approved funding for two staff positions to investigate homes that are lead-poisoning children. Landlords who fail to act to be held accountable.
Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids
A direct service program where trained Healthy Housing Specialists provide preventive in-home visits for low-income families with children 0-5 years of age or children with asthma. The Healthy Housing Specialists work one-on-one with families to identify and address environmental health hazards. Steps include visual assessment, hands-on education, referral for services, case management, and limited provision of supplies/repairs. Issues include lead poisoning, asthma, accidental injury (trips/falls, burns/scalds, poisoning, suffocation, etc.), and lung cancer.
Qualifications: Live within the Grand Rapids metro area, have a child 0 - 5 years old in the home and/or a child of any age with asthma, and be low-to-moderate income (≤80% of area median income).
Breathe Easier Asthma Program
Modeled after the Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids program, this project targets households with children with poorly managed asthma resulting in repeat emergency department visits or hospital admissions. All interventions are based upon the finding of an initial home assessment. This project includes provision of consumer goods and home repairs to address asthma triggers (carpet removal, fix leaks and control moisture, pest management, ventilation, and more).
Qualifications: Live Kent County and have a child 0 - 5 years old in the home with asthma who has had two emergency department and/or one hospital admission in the past 12 months for asthma.
Fire Safety Program
The Healthy Homes Coalition provides one-on-one in-home education on fire safety coupled with FREE smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector installations.
Qualifications: The family must live in the city of Grand Rapids, Kentwood or Wyoming and have a resident child 14 years of age or younger. The Healthy Homes Coalition does not currently have funding for this service, but you can get similar services from our partners by clicking here.
The Healthy Homes Coalition sells do-it-yourself radon kits. Radon is a naturally occurring gas and is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Qualifications: Radon kits are available for $5 each for the public. Kits are provided for free for participants in the Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids program. During Radon Action Month (January), all test kits are free. Test kits are available for pick up at the Healthy Homes office, 1545 Buchanan Ave SW Ste 2, Grand Rapids, MI 49507.
Get the Lead Out!
Healthy Homes Coalition assists families in the application process for the City of Grand Rapids’ lead hazard control program. Families that are approved for the program receive assistance to repair all lead hazards in the home.
Qualifications: The family must reside in the city of Grand Rapids, have a resident child birth through age five, and be low to moderate income (≤80% of area median income). Visit the Get the Lead Out! website for more information on how to apply.
Outreach and Education
The Healthy Homes Coalition connects with community partners to host and participate in local outreach events and teach classes. Classes include parent education, community awareness and training for professionals and are designed by contract. Healthy Homes is a proud partner of the national Healthy Homes Training Center and Network.
Advocacy and Policy Change
The Healthy Homes Coalition partners with like-minded advocates to promote policies that protect children’s health in the home. Healthy Homes advocates at the local, state, and national level. Past successes include numerous state bills, securing a State appropriation for lead hazard control, sustaining and increasing federal funding allocations, and adoption of a single-family rental housing ordinance in the City of Grand Rapids.
Did You Know...
Between 1980 and 1994 the prevalence of asthma increased 75% overall.
Little Louian's recently renovated home was in good condition, yet there were still things about the home environment that triggered Louian's asthma. Things had gotten so out of control that Louian ended up in the emergency room four times in a year. Healthy Homes provided Louian's mom with the knowledge, skills, and tools she needed to take action.
But this is just one of many families in need of support. Asthma attacks are the leading reason kids are going to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s emergency room. We need to do more to keep children like Louian from hurting, and we can with your help.
In November of 2018, the World Health Organization stepped firmly into the healthy housing world when it released its WHO Housing and Health Guidelines. While local conditions are different all over the world, the strategies WHO suggests are universal and certainly apply to Grand Rapids.