Welcome to the 2020 HUD Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes
Each year, on behalf of HUD, OLHCHH and our partner, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), conduct the HUD Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes program. We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 national competition. Summaries of all five Awardees and their projects are below.
Meet Our Five Awardees
On August 19, from 2:00pm Eastern, HUD will have an in-depth webinar with the Awardees. The target audience for the webinar consists of the wide range of professionals engaged in the healthy homes arena.
Awardees will describe their programs, with ample time allowed for questions and answers. Please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8242067113129093645, Webinar ID 856-532-651.
Some Background on the Awards
HUD and NEHA established the competition in 2015 to recognize programs and research that promote healthier housing through partnering, outreach, and innovative practices. HUD and NEHA have a shared vision of creating healthier homes across the health, environment, and housing sectors. There are five categories for the Awards. This year, a common thread was support for one of our most vulnerable populations, senior citizens.
NEHA’s Technical Advisors, who volunteer their time, represent a cross-section of experts from the healthy homes community, evaluated the entries. Nominations were reviewed and rated on meeting eligibility criteria, completeness, timeliness, and program criteria:
- Documentation of the health impact on population and target audiences
- Policy/program innovations
- Impact on the physical environment
- Program sustainability
Applications were received from numerous academic institutions; state, county, city, and regional units of government; health care providers; housing authorities; non-profit and community-based organizations; and advocacy organizations, and among others.
Presenting Our 2020 Awardees
For 2020, HUD and NEHA selected the following programs:
- The Housing Authority of Jackson County, OR, LIVEWELL program.
- LifeSTEPS, Sacramento, CA, Housing Plus Services- RN Coaching.
- Asian Pacific Self-development Residential Association, Stockton, CA, Community Health Connections.
- Home Forward, Portland, OR, Radon Testing and Mitigation in Public Housing.
- The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA, Home Environmental Interventions to Improve the Health of Older Adults.
Here are additional details about the 2020 Awardees and their projects:
LIVEWELL: Active for Life, Housing Authority of Jackson County, Medford, OR (Cross-Program)
HAJC created a new and supportive resident services program model, providing central hubs focused on the specific needs of their low-income populations. This project provided easier access to age-friendly and healthier lifestyle opportunities focused on physical, mental and social health, provide more opportunities for on-site volunteer work, while creating an improved living environment and producing more social connectedness. The focus remains steadfast in creating a healthier living environment and producing more social connectedness opportunities—an important key to longevity and well-being.
Housing Plus Services- RN Coaching, LifeSTEPS, Sacramento, CA (Multifamily Housing)
Because Americans are living longer, this project recognized the need to adjust our systems and policies for older adult health for both increasing financial sustainability and supporting aging with dignity. Residents from backgrounds of poverty typically lack adequate health literacy skills and support to manage their chronic conditions and their acute and long-term care needs. They also need access to onsite relationships marked by trust, caring and accountability. By providing health assessments and consultations to senior residents timely and where they live, vulnerable residents are supported to manage their chronic conditions and overall health. The number of residents moving out of their apartment communities because of health needs has been reduced by more than 69% with the RN Coaching program intervention, proving that this model contributes to families’ aging in place.
Community Health Connections, Asian Pacific Self-development Residential Association, Stockton, CA (Public Housing)
APSARA is an association of Cambodian refugees which self manages a 209-housing unit HUD-subsidized affordable housing property in Stockton, CA. The project attained three key goals: 1) culturally competent health education opportunities increased outreach and increase health care access for at-risk populations and underserved populations, 2) support and trust from community leaders increased, empowering the Community Health Connections to work with families to learn about health problems and find the best solutions and 3) healthy behaviors and active living increased so that clients with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and other health conditions demonstrated measurable improvement after participation in this project.
Radon Testing and Mitigation in Public Housing, Home Forward, Portland, OR (Policy Innovation)
In 2013, HUD issued Notice PIH 2013-06 encouraging public housing agencies to test for and mitigate elevated radon levels. In response, Home Forward worked to develop clear testing, retesting, and notification guidelines and procedures to reduce exposure to radon. Home Forward has committed itself to reducing hazardous exposure and improving the lives of its residents. These efforts will reduce the overall risk of lung cancer for adults living and working in the properties it owns. For children growing up in public housing, the impact could be far greater, with increased quality of life due to the reduction of respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, and greatly reduced chance to develop lung cancer later in life.
Home Environmental Interventions to Improve the Health of Older Adults, The University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA (Research)
The goal of this research project was to conduct multifaceted home environmental interventions involving low-income older adults with asthma and evaluate the effective of these interventions in improving health outcomes and reducing environmental asthma triggers. Results were statistically significant reductions in self-reported environmental asthma triggers with health improvements found in doctor visits, use of antibiotics for chest problems, respiratory symptoms, and improved quality of life indicators. Public housing agencies, owners and managers of privately-owned assisted housing can use study findings to improve their maintenance and operational practices for elder/older adult housing.