Safety Continuing Efforts

Safe and Healthy Homes Toledo/Lucas County

 

Broad ranges of housing conditions are associated with poor health, academic failure, juvenile misbehavior and crime-infested neighborhoods.  The most significant conditions are water intrusion caused by leaks; inadequate ventilation; pest infestation; lead based paint; asbestos insulation; deteriorated carpeting; unvented or improperly vented combustion appliances; fall, trip and drowning hazards; and lack of crime prevention environmental approaches.  These factors contribute to serious health problems and increased poverty due to high energy bills.

Despite the fact that these issues are all related to housing, the current method for addressing them relies on disparate programs with little to no coordination.  Currently there is no coordinated system in Toledo/Lucas County for providers of services to address environmental contributors to the onset and exacerbation of injury and illness.  Although we have many agencies and non profits organizations throughout Toledo/Lucas County working on healthy housing related issues, the effort is fragmented.  Currently there is no systematic way to ensure health problems; injuries and crime are linked back to the structure itself.

If and when a home environment issue is recognized as a major contributor to the resident’s health, that family may move to another home, but until those environmental health issues are resolved they will continue to put subsequent inhabitants of that home at risk.

Safe & Healthy Homes Toledo/Lucas County (S&H TLC) is designed as a comprehensive approach to offer integrated health, safety, lead hazard reduction, asthma reduction, energy efficiency, and weatherization intervention in low to moderate income homes.  We are creating a long-term collaborative relationship among service organizations that focus on improving the quality of life and holistic health for our residents.  This collaboration will begin to bridge the gap between housing and health.

The S&H TLC Initiative will use available data about Housing and the people living inside them to drive activities.  At the outset the Initiative will use available city, county, state and national data to target interventions. There are many factors that may indicate that a home is at greater risk of having home based health hazards. For the purposes of this plan we will begin to look at age of housing and identify homes built prior to 1978.

 

Overview

In communities like Toledo/Lucas County that struggle with an aging and deteriorating housing stock as well as high poverty and unemployment rates, many children and their families are forced to live in homes that are unhealthy, unsafe and not energy efficient.

Safe & Healthy Homes Toledo/Lucas County is comprised of nearly 25 partner organizations dedicated to creating safe and healthy homes for children and families in the Toledo /Lucas County area.  These partners are implementing a cost effective and integrated approach to healthy housing interventions by aligning, braiding with the overall goal of improving communities and those living in by making homes healthy, safe and sustainable.

Utilizing a over arching umbrella, collaborative, systematic approach, S&H TLC will be successful at reducing housing related risks and increasing energy efficiency; sustaining safe and healthy homes through advocacy, policy change and increased enforcement.  We commit to share resources, responsibilities, risks and rewards.  We will engage to leverage community assets and strengths to build our capacity.

 

History

The City of Toledo through environmental services received an eighteen-month area wide planning grant.  Out of the planning grant and Cherry St. Legacy Success Measures study completed in 2014 came the realization that 95% of our community wanted to focus on elimination of health hazards. Through the AWP process we realized that as a community we needed to bridge the gap between health and housing. Locally, S&H TLC came together in March 2015 in an effort to change processes and align, braid, and coordinate assets and resources to produce safe and healthy homes.  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will serve to inform the national agenda by generating best practices and lessons learned in the area of integrated safe and healthy housing assessment and interventions.  We will incorporate the lessons that make sense in Toledo/Lucas County and add to the base of knowledge.

 

Vision

Every Toledo/Lucas County resident lives in a safe and healthy home that is maintained to support dry, clean, pest free, ventilated, contaminant free, barrier free and crime free-living environment.

 

Mission

The Mission of S&H TLC is to foster a safe and healthy homes environment that protect and improve the health of vulnerable populations through coordinated and effective policies, programs and partnerships.

 

Shared Values:  Create the shared value that Safe & Healthy Housing is both a right and responsibility.

Tenants are often cautious about reporting home health hazards to their landlords out of fear of retaliation.  Property owners aren’t always cognizant of the ways in which housing units might be contributing to poor health.  We need to seek a common understanding about and shared support for healthy housing.

Our Values: Collaborative, Evidence Based, Equitable and Fair, Public-Private Partnerships, Engagement of Community Members.

 

Goals of Safe and Healthy Homes-Toledo Lucas County:

  1. More effective use of public investment through improved interagency coordination.
    1. Implement a cost effective and integrated approach to housing interventions by aligning, braiding and coordinating investments in weatherization, energy efficiency, health and safety through interagency partnerships.
  1. Increased community awareness of the concept of what makes a home healthy vs unhealthy and the social and economic costs related to these illnesses.
    1. Education for tenants.
    2. Education for property owners.
  1. Better health outcomes for our seniors, children and families of Toledo/Lucas County.
    1. Develop and implement a primary preventative approach to significantly reduce health related issues  (lead poisoning, asthma and falls) that affect school performance and integration as well as work attendance.
  1. Support neighborhood stabilization by making Toledo/ Lucas County housing stock safe, accessible, healthy and energy efficient through effective and sustainable home investments.
    1. Increase the energy efficiency of homes.
    2. Improve landlord tenant relationships.
    3. Urge the prosecution of owners who fail to comply with lead abatement orders (assuming that orders are being issued).
    4. Understand the rights and responsibilities of housing owners and tenants.
  1. Advance policy changes and advocate for safe and healthy housing and positive health outcomes for residents of Lucas County.
    1. Need new policy to address mold as there are currently no Toledo Municipal Codes directly relating to mold.
    2. Model lead ordinance.
  1.  Modify interventions based on outcome and process measures.

 

Next steps:

  • Brainstorm a number of goals, objectives, and action items for the Strategic Plan as well as who is responsible and what the key milestones will be and a time line.
  • Agree on a structure for working together.
  • Prioritize issues most needing to be addressed.
  • Determine evaluation process and target outcomes.
  • Link healthy housing to community planning.
  • Set up criteria for a strategic plan—maximizes existing resources, aligns with the vision, and is economically feasible.
  • Build capacity using local assets and resources.
  • Identify needed resources.
  • Communicate with the community.
  • Acknowledge successes and contributors.
  • Ensure long-term sustainability of the Safe & Healthy Housing program.