By: Marcus Smith
Over the past 15 years, Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program (Healthy Homes) has made a remarkable impact on children and families in Connecticut.
To date, Healthy Homes has received more than $30 million in federal funding since 2003, which has allowed us to tap into another $27.5 million in matching grants from community partners and state agencies. This funding has enabled us to make more than 2,500 housing units lead safe in which more than 1,600 children under age 6 reside. We have also educated more than 38,000 people about the dangers of lead paint poisoning.
Our program began back in 2003 when we were known as the Lead Action for Medicaid Primary Prevention (LAMPP) program. Our sole focus was to make housing units lead-safe. We served low- and moderate-income families in 15 communities with primary funding support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Connecticut Department of Housing.
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In 2012, we proudly joined other Connecticut Children’s programs to become part of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health (the Office). The Office was formed to bring all of the medical center’s community-oriented programs under the same umbrella to better coordinate our efforts and to build synergy with external community-based programs in promoting children’s optimal healthy development.
In 2015, we rebranded to what we are currently known as, which is Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program. With a new name came an expanded focus. In addition to continuing to make homes lead safe, we expanded our efforts to address other health and safety hazards commonly found in older homes, such as mold and moisture issues; pest infestations; fire and safety hazards; trip and fall hazards; radon; and asbestos.
Since 2015, in addition to our lead abatement efforts, we have eliminated hazards in about 350 housing units and have installed safety equipment in more than 640 additional units.
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We have found that by addressing a broadened variety of needs, we are able to reduce visits to Connecticut Children’s Emergency Department, increase school attendance, and provide significant cost savings to programs like Medicaid.
Many of the homeowners and residents we’ve helped had no idea the extent of lead and safety hazards in their homes and are often unaware about the harmful health effects that exposure to lead can have, especially for young children.
While we currently serve families in 15 communities, we expect to expand into two new communities soon.
We’re proud of our work over the last 15 years building stronger children, families and futures. In the months ahead, we will share stories of some of those families. And because we can’t do this work alone, we will be spotlighting some of our tremendous partners who help us to meet our mission.
We look forward to continuing our important work for years, and even decades, to come.
Marcus Smith is the senior manager of Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program, which is a program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health.
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