Promoting Policies for Healthy Housing and Asthma Awareness
Chronic Disease Prevention, Healthy Communities
Public Policy Advocacy
Anne Kelsey Lamb, MPH, Joel Ervice
In California, many families and households are unaware that their homes can have serious health and safety hazards, and awareness about the dangers of unhealthy or unsafe housing can save lives. Unhealthy housing conditions disproportionately harm communities of color in California, leading to high asthma rates and other health disparities in these areas.
PHI’s Regional Asthma Management and Prevention program worked with state leaders and a coalition of public interest organizations on a statewide declaration making June 2021 a Healthy Homes Month, to increase awareness of housing-related health hazards and the overall principles of a healthy home, especially for low-income populations, and to encourage policy changes for safer and healthier homes.
The Assembly Resolution (ACR 91) sponsored by Assemblymember David Chiu and co-sponsored by more than 70 legislators passed both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously. As the resolution notes,
Unhealthy [housing] conditions, including physical safety hazards and exposure to lead-based paint, radon, mold, pests, allergens, and second- and third-hand smoke, cause or contribute to a wide range of illness and disease, including lead poisoning, asthma, cancer, and physical injury…Disparities in the quality of rental housing and owner-occupied housing disproportionately harm communities of color in California …the Legislature hereby designates the month of June 2021 as Healthy Homes Awareness Month in order to increase awareness and understanding of healthy housing, and to educate homeowners, landlords, and renters of programs and resources available to mitigate unhealthy housing conditions and prevent those conditions from arising in the future.
Partner organizations working with RAMP in support of the resolution included Building Healthy Places Network; California Coalition for Rural Housing; Children Now; Coalition for Economic Survival; Community Action to Fight Asthma; Environmental Health Coalition; Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California; Public Health Institute; and Tenants Together.
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