The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded nearly $10.5 million in grants designed to protect children and other vulnerable groups from health hazards in their homes. This grant funding highlights the link between housing and health and develops cost effective methods for mitigating residential hazards. HUD’s grants are being awarded to academic and non-profit research institutions studying new methods to recognize and control residential health and safety hazards such as asthma triggers, bed bugs, mold, and radon.
HUD’s Healthy Homes Technical Studies (HHTS) Program supports new approaches to improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of methods to evaluate and control housing-related health and safety hazards. The program, part of HUD’s Healthy Homes Initiative, is particularly focused on the health of children and other vulnerable groups. The grants supplement the $98 million in grants HUD awarded in May to protect thousands of children from lead and other home hazards.
HUD’s Healthy Homes Initiative promotes safe, decent, and sanitary housing as a means for preventing disease and injury. There is an emerging body of scientific evidence – to which these new grants will contribute – linking health outcomes such as asthma, lead poisoning, and unintentional injuries to substandard housing. Housing of all types and ages may contain hazards. Creating healthier housing promotes the health of people of all ages, but especially our most vulnerable, and thus has the potential to save billions annually in health care costs. Everyone needs a healthy home and some of the most serious health problems start in their home. There are special reasons to focus on the home environment:
– On average we spend about 70% of our time in our homes.
– Children’s play and interactions potentially expose them to toxins such as lead.
– Millions of U.S. homes have existing hazards such as deteriorated lead-based paint, elevated radon levels, or pest infestation.
“Our homes should be restful and safe environments for all, but too many of us suffer from preventable injury and illness due to unsafe conditions in our homes. Some of us, such as children and seniors, are more easily harmed by residential hazards, which is why it’s critical that we develop cost effective methods of protecting them from hazards in the home,” said Jon L. Gant, Director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. “These government grants will support important research that can help all of us identify and control those things in our homes that can cause or contribute to injury or illness.”
(This article is excerpted from a HUD press release.)