What is a Healthy Home?

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, a healthy home is housing that is designed, constructed, maintained, and rehabilitated in a manner that is conducive to good occupant health

Healthy housing is important for everyone, whether you own or rent your home. The Healthy Homes Coalition is especially concerned with how these threats impact children's health and wellbeing.  Click here to find out how the Healthy Homes Coalition can help you and your family.

The Healthy Homes Coalition affirms the Seven Principles of a Healthy Home and starts with people in mind.  This means that our assessments take into consideration the habits and behaviors of those who live in the home, and solutions must be sustainable for both those who live in and own the home.  

If you own your home, Healthy Homes can help you assess your home and connect you with resources to make it healthier.  If you rent, Healthy Homes can work with you on strategies that tenants can take with or without the landlord's cooperation.

 

The Seven Principles of a Healthy Home

  1. KEEP IT DRY - Moisture in homes has been linked to a wide range of health problems, from respiratory problems to lead poisoning, from accidental injury to asthma.  Moisture creates a favorable environment for mites, rodents, molds, and roaches, all of which are associated with asthma.
  2. KEEP IT CLEAN - A clean home helps ensure that people are not exposed to contaminants and chemicals, and that pests don’t have food, water, and a place to live.
  3. KEEP IT PEST-FREE - Studies show that there is a causal relationship between mice and cockroach exposure and asthma episodes in children with asthma.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) addresses the issue of pests holistically, without using toxic pesticides.
  4. KEEP IT SAFE - Most childhood injuries occur at home.  Falls, poisoning, and burns are the three most common residential injuries for children.
  5. KEEP IT CONTAMINATE-FREE - Homes have many potential contaminant exposure risks, including lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, and asbestos.  Children are more likely to be exposed to lead, radon, asbestos, tobacco smoke and other toxicants in higher concentration in the home than outside.
  6. KEEP IT VENTILATED - Studies show that respiratory health is related to access to fresh air, increasing a home’s fresh air supply reduces moisture, improves air quality, and increases respiratory health.
  7. KEEP IT MAINTAINED - Neglected homes are more at risk for moisture, pest, lead paint and accidental injury than homes that are properly maintained.
Credit

Did You Know...

Carbon monoxide poisoning deprives the body of oxygen and can quickly lead to death.

Resources

A Guide to a Healthy Home(2.5 MB)

A guide from the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Finding a Healthy Home(393 KB)

A checklist of things to look for when shopping for a home or apartment. 

Let's Double-Down for Children with Asthma Like Louian

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.


Healthy Housing Goes Global

​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.


Alex Markham: Parent Leader and Super Volunteer

Here at Healthy Homes, we have a small, but mighty volunteer force. And, possibly no volunteer is more known around the offices as a go-to helper than Alex Markham. She has been a very regular giver of time, talent, and passion over the past three years, and we are thankful to have her as part of the team.