6 New Cities to Address Health Hazards in Housing

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Health and success begin at home, yet millions of Americans live in housing that is making them sick. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning and asthma. NLC is committed to supporting member efforts to provide safe and affordable housing for every family.

NLC has selected six cities through a competitive application process to come together on health hazards in housing. The Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum will first convene in Charlotte, North Carolina in December. Our six participating cities are:

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Bloomington, Illinois
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Jersey City, New Jersey

Each city has convened a cross-sector team that includes city department heads, implementers and health partners. With the generous support of The JPB Foundation, this initiative will enable city teams to develop and implement a targeted action plan to improve housing conditions in their community.

“The opportunity to participate in the Forum will allow Durham to gain a national perspective on lead conditions and unhealthy housing around the country, and incorporate those lessons into our work in Durham,” said Michael Pullum, community development manager with the City of Durham.

The work of the Forum draws on an earlier report Advancing City-Level Healthy Housing: Policies, Programs, and Practices in Asthma and Lead. The report contains a literature scan of innovative city models and features case studies of ten cities, some of which have joined the Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum. The models for lead and asthma treatment and prevention highlighted in the report serve as resources for cities. In many areas, however, additional knowledge and support are needed. The Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum will help participating cities find new ways to bridge these gaps.

[Take action on indoor environmental hazards and their impact on the health of children and families by pledging to take a least one of these four actions.]

Katie Simpson, a city planner with the city of Bloomington, Illinois, notes “This city is committed to providing support for affordable, safe and healthy housing options. Just as important is creating an environment where residents feel informed and empowered,” said Kate Simpson, a city planner with the City of Bloomington.

Equity-driven community engagement is central to the work of the Forum. Code enforcement, rent withholding mechanisms, cross-systems collaborations, data-sharing, and landlord resources are additional tools city leaders can use to tackle healthy housing challenges. NLC will share best practices and lessons learned from the Forum with members.

Anne Li HeadshotAbout the Author: Anne Li is an associate for health and wellness in the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.