Strategy for Action to Advance Healthy Housing
On Monday, February 4th, the federal Healthy Homes Work Group (HHWG) launched the new Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action, laying out goals and priorities to advance healthy housing initiatives for the next three to five years nationwide. The development of a comprehensive national strategy for improving the nation’s housing stock, especially those home occupied by families who may not be able to afford such improvements, across federal agencies is a critical step in the evolution of Weatherization Plus Health. In conjunction with the publication of HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing’s new radon testing and mitigation requirements, this sends a strong signal that the time for program collaboration is here.
The Goals of the Strategy are outlined below—and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) WAP is already ahead of the curve and deeply committed to the cause through performing health and safety assessments, creating and refining training protocols and certifications, providing client education, and collecting and analyzing data.
- Goal 1: Establish healthy homes recommendations
- Goal 2: Encourage adoption of healthy homes recommendations
- Goal 3: Create and support training and workforce development to address health hazards in housing
- Goal 4: Educate the public about healthy homes
- Goal 5: Support research that informs and advances healthy housing in a cost-effective manner
As the largest energy efficiency program in the country, WAP touches more low-income homes than any other program. A national leader in developing protocols and standards to ensure the health and safety of the families served, the example set by WAP can become the standard for the larger home performance industry. In fact, combustion safety testing, draft and pressure testing, lead safe weatherization practices, and indoor air quality improvements are integral parts of any WAP operation.
The households served by WAP are of limited means, and the contact with a WAP professional may be their only opportunity to interact with a specialist in home energy efficiency, health, and safety. Weatherization Plus Health plays a critical role in bringing together the different elements of a whole house assessment and retrofit to ensure these families are not left with severe housing problems that they cannot afford to fix.
WAP is a key player in the advancement of healthy housing initiatives, touching more low-income homes than any other program. To learn more about how WAP works with healthy homes, visit WxPlusHealth.org. For more resources including a recording of the event and the publications released, please click here.
Rebecca Stewart is the project coordinator of Energy Services for the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP).
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