Housing Policy Agenda: The Alliance for Healthy Homes and
the National Center for Healthy Housing call on leadership from all levels
of government and the private sector to create healthful housing for families
in America through practical policy approaches.
or Senate bill S. 3654, introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) in September
2008, emphasizes cost-effective approaches and market-based incentives
to make homes healthier and safer without detracting from their affordability.
The multi-faceted legislation aims to improve research, enhance the capacity
of federal programs, and expand national outreach efforts.
Bill provisions include:
- Provides funding for existing federal housing
programs, such as CDBG, HOME, and LIHEAP to add healthy homes components
to their programs.
- Leverages the private market interest in healthy
homes by creating a voluntary “Healthy Homes Seal of Approval”
modeled after the successful Energy Star program.
- Authorizes $7,000,000 for each of the next five
years for the National Institute of Environmental Health Science and
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the
health risks and human health effects of indoor exposure to chemical
pollutants including carbon monoxide, chemical asthma triggers, and
common household and garden pesticides.
- Authorizes $6,000,000 for the Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) to study methods for the assessment and
control of housing-related health hazards.
- Provides $10,000,000 for HUD and CDC to study
the indoor environmental quality of existing housing and to create a
system for monitoring housing related hazards.
For a summary of the bill, please visit this
page on the National Center for Healthy Housing website.
Weatherization activities offer a unique opportunity to address housing-based
environmental health threats. Weatherization crews treat over 100,000
housing units each year and work with low-income families. Although their
primary mission is to improve energy efficiency, they have the skills
to do more.
Weatherization Plus Health is an ongoing initiative to provide weatherization
programs with the tools they need to address asthma triggers (e.g., moisture/mold,
pests, allergens), lead hazards, and carbon monoxide when they are in
a home. The program
overview describes this initiative. Specific protocols
provide assessment tools to address moisture/mold, pests, ventilation,
carbon monoxide, lead, and other hazards. Weatherization Plus Health was
developed by a collaborative effort among weatherization, health, and
According to the website of the U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization
Assistance Program (W.A.P.), "Weatherization Plus is
the strategic approach of the Department of Energy Weatherization Program’s
national network. The 2005 - 2010 strategic plan had three priorities:
updating the network agencies’ technology and capability, increasing
the exchange of information and skills on all practices of the programs,
and expanding Weatherization’s leveraged resources." W.A.P.'s
continued expansion is thanks in part to the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act (ARRA). The ARRA provided an additional $5 billion through 2010 to
hire and train more weatherization workers to improve energy efficiency
in hundreds of thousands of homes.