Air Date: 10-3-2014| Episode: 342
This week on IAQ Radio Rebecca Morley and Kevin Kennedy join us to discuss the New National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) National Healthy Housing Standard. The NCHH and the American Public Health Association (APHA) have
created the evidence-based “National Healthy Housing Standard” as a tool to reconnect the housing and public health sectors and as an evidence-based standard of care for those in the position of improving housing conditions…
created the evidence-based “National Healthy Housing Standard” as a tool to reconnect the housing and public health sectors and as an evidence-based standard of care for those in the position of improving housing conditions. The document draws from the latest and best thinking in the fields of environmental public health, safety, building science, engineering, and indoor environmental quality.
Rebecca Morley is the Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), a
national nonprofit organization dedicated to creating healthy and safe housing for children. She led the development of the National Healthy Homes Training Center, spearheaded NCHH’s recovery work in the Gulf Coast region following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and more recently launched the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition. She has authored and edited numerous publications, including the book, Healthy and Safe Homes: Research, Practice, and Policy.
Kevin Kennedy is an Environmental Hygienist and is the Managing Director for the Center for
Environmental Health at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. The center provides patient-based services, training, and education, and performs research in indoor environmental health. Mr. Kennedy has been involved in housing and school environmental health assessments for over 10 years and environmental science and industrial hygiene chemistry consulting for over 20 years.
On this week’s episode of IAQradio, Rebecca Morley and Kevin Kennedy joined RadioJoe and I to discuss the new (May 2014) National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) National Healthy Housing Standard an evidence-based tool to reconnect the housing and public health sectors and as an evidence-based standard of care for those in the position of improving housing conditions. The document draws from the latest and best thinking in the fields of environmental public health, safety, building science, engineering, and indoor environmental quality.
Nuggets mined from today’s show:
- The dire consequences of not dealing with substandard housing include: 20%-30% of asthma cases are linked to indoor environment, 21,000 lung cancer deaths from radon, 24 million homes have lead paint based hazards putting children at risk, home based injuries is the leading cause of death of young children, 6 million seniors are in hospitals or nursing homes due to preventable falls.
- Rebecca cited the National Association of Home Builders, CityView, Greensboro Housing Coalition, etc. as representing the interests’ of property owners in the document.
- There are 6.3 million substandard housing units in the US. Unfortunately, the number of substandard housing units has remained stable over the past two decades. Vacant properties, collateral damage from the housing foreclosure crisis added many properties.
- A scale of 20 indicators (such as plumbing, electrical or roofing deficiencies, rodent infestation, etc.) categorizes substandard housing conditions. Lack of a kitchen sink constitutes a moderate substandard condition.
- While the primary burden for maintaining housing falls on the property owner, tenant behavior plays an important role. Tenants are responsible for interior upkeep.
- In Kansas City, MO there are 32,000 homes which fall into the moderate or severe category which doesn’t include those that have environmental problems such as high levels of radon.
- Rodents, smoking and mold are the biggest allergy contributors.
- Substandard housing takes a toll on the mental health of occupants. Depression is more prevalent in substandard housing.
- Baltimore and Boston have the highest rodent populations.
- Big Hairy Audacious Goal of reducing substandard housing 50% in 1,000 communities in ten years.
- The new standard considers environmental issues while existing building codes do not.
- Kevin’s role as a standard reviewer was to determine if connections are supported by evidence.
- The standard advocates for positively changing substandard housing conditions, provides ammunition for improving substandard HUD housing, provides guidance which extends to small cities and rural areas.
- The city of Greensboro improved substandard housing by 77%.
- Prompt reporting of problems by tenants is very important. Some tenants may be fearful of eviction if they complain.
- Asthma related to cockroach allergen can be a problem even in impeccably clean units with building wide roach infestation. Tenants play an important role in denying insects food and water.
- Low-toxicity baiting and Integrated Pest Management are the preferred methods for controlling roach infestations.
- Maintain balance between property owners and public health. Smoke free housing is a delicate issue. Tenants have no right to smoke and do have the right to fair treatment. Smoking can be basis for landlords getting rid of undesirable tenants.
- Optional stretch provisions go above and beyond minimum standards. Stretch provisions are evidence based. The rationale and reasoning of the provisions is easily defensible.
- Some bulk chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine are corrosive and explosive. Housing units formerly used as labs for methamphetamine must be properly remediated before re-occupancy.
http://www.nchh.org/Portals/0/Contents/NHHS_Full_Doc.pdf National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) National Healthy Housing Standard
http://www.cedarfalls.com/DocumentCenter/View/3189 International property maintenance Code
Today’s Music: Pink Houses by John Mellencamp
Z-Man signing off