Healthy Homes

Asthma Program

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over the upcoming 3.5 years, Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) will identify and enroll 130 homes in the program to deliver interventions proven to improve the health outcomes of children residing in the home with an asthma diagnosis, as rates of prevalence, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations are higher in Allegheny County than the national average and disproportionately impact children of color. 

The interventions taken will include repairing or replacing leaking roofs, windows, and downspouts; installing bathroom and dryer vents and dehumidifiers; removing carpeting and replacing it with flooring; sealing holes and walls. Additional components of our intervention program includes education, connecting individuals and families with community resources, and regular check-ins.

The National Center for Healthy Housing has developed helpful guiding principles to describe the critical components of a healthy home – all of which are essential to ensure an asthma-free home, as well.

 

 

According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, Healthy Homes Are: 

 

Dry

Damp homes provide a nurturing environment for mites, roaches, rodents and molds. All are associated with triggering asthma.

Clean

Keeping a home clean and clutter-free will help reduce pest infestations and exposure to environmental contaminants.

Ventilated

Studies show increasing the flow of fresh air supply throughout the home improves respiratory health.

Thermal Controlled

When adequate temperature control is not maintained, prolonged exposure to excessive heat or cold can increase health risks.

Pest-Free

Studies show a causal relationship between exposure to mice and cockroaches and asthma episodes in children. Pesticide residues from home treatments pose risks for neurological damage, cancer and other health issues.

Maintained

Poorly maintained homes are at risk for moisture and pest problems. Deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing is the primary cause of lead poisoning, affecting some 535,000 U.S. children annually.

Safe

The majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns and poisonings.

Contaminant-Free

Keep your home contaminant-free. Chemical exposures to asbestos particles, lead, radon gas, carbon monoxide, pesticides, VOCs, PFAS and secondhand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

Affordable

When more than 30% of income is spent on housing, households are considered cost burdened. If more than 50% of income is spent on housing, households are deemed severely cost burdened. Substandard housing, overcrowding or homelessness can result from housing cost burdens and home instability for families facing difficulty paying rent or mortgage.

Accessible

Accessibility modifications are often necessary in order for occupants to move safely into homes. Lack of accessibility in and around the home can result in reduced physical activity, injury, isolation and poor mental health. Every new home should be designed to improve accessibility for all occupants, regardless of age, ability or mobility challenges.

How does housing impact asthma?

Asthma can lead to premature death in children when it is not monitored or mitigated. In the home, there are many potential hazards that exacerbate inflammation or cause asthma attacks. Hazards such as radon, mold, moisture, poor ventilation and temperature regulation, pests, dust and other known respiratory irritants and infrastructure concerns are linked to asthma. Therefore, WHE will be assessing and testing homes for these hazards. WHE will then provide remediation services to address the identified triggers through contractor services to reduce exposure to triggers to help control asthma in children in Allegheny county.

Are you interested in enrolling in our program?

The Healthy Homes Asthma program strives to provide services that ensure a healthy, asthma-free home for all. If you or a loved one is struggling with poor indoor air quality, lead or radon contamination, or other events that have triggered or worsened asthma, click below to see if you qualify for our fully-funded Asthma Program and services.

Support and Resources

Use the links below to receive information about asthma, allergies, and general lung health:

Other important resources for individuals, caregivers, and other support systems for those with asthma include:
  • Asthma Action Plan – a plan that helps you and others recognize symptoms and the severity of your asthma. This will show what medicines and services you may need to feel better and avoid further exacerbation. This is a tool that all caregivers including teachers, coaches, babysitters, and parents can use to help take care of a child with asthma.
  • American Lung Association Trainings – The American Lung Association offers trainings on asthma, indoor air quality, tobacco, and advocacy. If you wish to learn more about asthma, protecting lung health, or ways to support change that supports better health, please register for one of these trainings available on their website. You may also make recommendations for staff that are caring for your children in different environments to attend training to increase their ability to identify and respond to asthma attacks or a worsening condition.
  • Asthma Control Assessment – Often individuals with asthma become used to having breathing difficulty, issues sleeping, and medicine use. This often makes individuals feel that their asthma is not as extreme as they think, this tool can help individuals determine the severity of their asthma and perhaps help individuals seek care if necessary.