246685 Bringing Weatherization Into Public Health Practice: The Healthy Homes Initiative of the National Association for State Community Services Programs

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lynne Page Snyder, PhD, MPH , Healthy Homes Initiative, National Association for State Community Services Programs/Energy Programs Consortium, Washington, DC
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the single largest source of funding to address health and safety threats in low-income homes, financing energy conservation measures in hundreds of thousands of dwellings each year. The energy audit and home visit that launch a weatherization project offer a unique opportunity to identify and address problems related to mold, indoor air quality, asthma triggers, and other factors that contribute to health disparities, and weatherization itself can increase or decrease environmental exposures. Yet energy conservation services are usually delivered in isolation from health department efforts to address housing-related health concerns. Differences in funding sources, eligibility criteria, and staff expertise make coordination difficult. The growth of the healthy housing movement over the past decade, and the significant increase in federal dollars for weatherization in the past 2 years, have challenged practitioners in both energy conservation and public health to find new ways to collaborate and leverage resources toward a common goal of improving housing quality, and through housing, the health of communities. This presentation introduces a new Healthy Homes Initiative being conducted by state and tribal weatherization office directors, under the auspices of the National Association for State Community Services Programs. The Initiative is developing a systematic inventory and analysis of healthy housing activities –best practices, collaborations, funding opportunities and capacity building through training –for use by Weatherization Assistance Program offices and their partners at the state and local level. The presentation will detail the scope and key projects of the Healthy Homes Initiative, focusing on the creation of a new online tool that facilitates access to resources, fosters peer exchange, and enhances partnerships between weatherization projects and health departments and other stakeholders involved in healthy homes activities.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objective 1. Describe the population health implications of energy conservation at the community level. Learning Objective 2. Discuss the benefits for health and for energy efficiency of a weatherization intervention for each of the 7 principles of healthy homes. Learning Objective 3. Identify 5 federal funding opportunities (grants) that may be used to support joint projects between health departments and weatherization programs.

Keywords: Housing, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a senior advisor on healthy homes for NASCSP, with 6 years of professional experience in the field of energy conservation services and fuel poverty and 15 years experience in environmental public health and health disparities as a policy analyst and technical advisor.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.