By: Chris Corcoran
Concerns over the possibility of children being exposed to unhealthy housing conditions during COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders helped fuel a record year for Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program in 2020.
Record Levels of Service
Even with the pandemic in full swing and losing the Spring building season, the Healthy Homes team increased service delivery in 2020 by 48% over the previous year. The program also expanded into 40 towns, the most we have ever served in our 18-year history. In addition, during the first four months of the pandemic, we saw a 50% increase in applications compared to the 5-year average for those months. COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders likely prompted the increase, as people’s concerns about their living environments and health-related issues escalated in correlation with their time spent at home.
Steps Taken to Stay in Business During COVID-19
Healthy Homes took numerous steps to reinvent itself to remain in business during the pandemic. We transitioned educational home visits, contract signings and screenings for cross-sector referral opportunities from in-person to virtual. We also took numerous other steps to ensure the safety of team members, contractors and families, such as requesting no more than one family member be home when our crews were doing work.
Learn more about how Healthy Homes reinvented support for families during the pandemic.
Record Level of Funding
Healthy Homes also received a record level of funding in 2020. In partnership with the Connecticut Department of Housing, we secured a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant will support our expansion to meet the needs of the entire state. In addition to continuing to make homes and housing units lead-safe and healthy, the grant includes funding for exciting new opportunities. For the first time, our funding will cover expenses associated with training community residents in doing housing repairs, so they are able to get certified, licensed, insured and then hired by the contractors we work with. The funding also includes vouchers for transportation, so the newly trained workers are able to travel to different communities to work on projects. The grant also includes money for newly trained workers to buy their own equipment, which is often required by the contractors who hire them.
We are excited that the work of Healthy Homes to make houses lead safe and healthy is gaining interest and expanding. We look forward to another great year in 2021 and hope to exceed the incredible milestones we achieved in 2020 while focusing on making homes lead safe and healthy for families across Connecticut.
Learn more about Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program.
Chris Corcoran is the program manager from Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program.
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