Healthy Housing

New National Resource Highlights Our Building for Health Initiative

By: Marcus Smith

The Building for Health initiative, developed and launched earlier this year by Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program and Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), is designed to ensure families get their housing concerns addressed efficiently and effectively, no matter what the problem is.

We are thrilled to see the cross-sector referral program gaining national recognition. It is a featured case study in the newly released Energy-Plus-Health Playbook released by E4TheFuture, an organization dedicated to advancing cross-sector partnerships to ensure every home has access to clean and efficient energy. The Playbook offers examples of collaborations between healthcare and energy efficiency sectors. It serves as a tool for organizations looking to design such partnerships, and notes the challenges both sectors face in improving customer engagement and better managing costs.

The Building for Health initiative materialized after a call-to-action from the Hartford office of LISC for organizations in the health, housing and energy sectors to work together to improve the quality of life for city residents. As mentioned in the Energy-Plus-Health Playbook, “LISC recognized the synergies between affordable housing, energy efficiency, and lead-hazard abatement programs and leveraged these cross-sector relationships to build collaboration.”

As the playbook notes, our Healthy Homes program had long explored opportunities to advance cross-sector partnerships with local utilities. The call-to-action from LISC gave us the energy we needed to formalize a partnership not only with local utilities, but also with Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance and other organizations under Building for Health.

Building for Health serves as a “no wrong door” community-focused model to detect opportunities to enhance the health and well-being of residents through home upgrades or other services. Once needs are identified by one organization, the model allows that organization to refer and link residents to relevant supports in organizations from other sectors without having to track those services down on their own.

Learn more about Building for Health.

Simply put, if one of our Healthy Homes workers visits a house as part of the assessment process to remediate mold and moisture concerns, and they notice the family could benefit from an energy audit to make the home more energy efficient, we can refer the family directly to a local utility for an appointment. Similarly, if a utility worker performs an energy audit and notices standing water in a basement, which could cause mold to form, or peeling paint, which could cause lead poisoning in older homes, they can refer the family directly to Healthy Homes for an assessment without the family having to locate or contact our program on its own.

As the Playbook states, much evidence “shows how energy efficiency magnifies and intensifies health outcomes by improving air quality and decreasing asthma outbreaks.”

Access the Energy-Plus-Health Playbook here.

At Healthy Homes, we are proud to lead the way toward enhancing cross-sector collaboration to advance the health and well-being of all children and their families.

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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