Home Is Where The Health Is

Home Is Where The Health Is

Habitat for Humanity is well known for how successfully they use volunteers  to build homes for families in need. All you have to say is “Habitat” and most  people can conjure up an image of diverse groups working together with lumber,  insulation and bricks and mortar. Habitat is busily building all over the world,  because the need for housing is profound and ever growing. In America alone, 95  million people have housing problems that include insurmountable mortgages,  overcrowding, substandard shelter and homelessness. When families who have been  living in substandard housing are given a chance to buy, and have a hand at  building their own homes, aspects of their lives can take dramatic turns for the  better. The benefits go far beyond just having a solid roof over their heads.  One crucial improvement is the health of their children.

According to Houston Habitat  for Humanity, the number of low-income families that lack safe and  affordable housing is related to the number of children that suffer from viral  infections, anemia, stunted growth and asthma. All of these factors are  attributed to the lack of stable housing. In addition, 10,000  children aged 4 to 9 are hospitalized for asthma attacks each year because  their homes are infested with cockroaches,  a known asthma trigger. For children without stable housing, the effects of  chronic health problems are long-term and far-reaching. Housing  deprivation leads to an average of 25%  greater risk of disability or severe ill health across a person’s  lifespan.

On the other hand, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to  Build a Better America, ”…when adequate housing protects individuals  and families from harmful exposures and provides them with a sense of privacy,  security, stability, and control, it can make important contributions to  health.” Children in stable, healthy home environments are more likely to  stay in school and experience improved test scores in math and reading.

Poor Children Need Healthy Homes

We already know that poor  children are disproportionately affected by environmental pollutants like  those from power plants and refineries. But they are also exposed to indoor  health hazards like lead, mold, mites and other insects and pests, a myriad of  other allergens, radon, volatile organic compounds and asbestos. These  pollutants make them sicker and more susceptible to other illnesses. Of the 26  million Americans who suffer from asthma, 7 million are children. Asthma is the most common chronic diseases among children. And poor children and  children of color suffer asthma at higher rates. Approximately 40% of diagnosed  asthma in children is attributed to residential exposures. The annual economic  cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect  costs such as lost school and work days, amounts  to approximately $56 billion. These are costs that families on the economic  edge cannot afford.

All Families Need Energy-Efficient Homes

Habitat homes are built with stability and energy efficiency in mind. Each  Houston Habitat home receives Energy Star certification, demonstrating a  commitment to energy efficiency and affordability. The families that will buy  the homes take part in their construction. They become homeowners and thus  stakeholders in their community. This is how Habitat not only improves the  health of families, but of entire communities.

Where We Live Matters

Where we live is at the core of our daily lives. Our homes have the most  significant impact on how we survive and how we view our place in the world.  Habitat for Humanity provides the opportunity for families to improve their  economic situations and live in safe homes as sanctuaries against the onslaught  of health and safety threats outdoors. For these families, in a very real sense,  their Habitat homes help them live better and longer.

Habitat for Humanity is doing their part to address pollution, the asthma  epidemic here in Houston, the environment, and preventable childhood illnesses  worldwide. Each of us must do our part too.

EVERY CHILD DESERVES A HEALTHY HOME PLEASE TAKE ACTION WITH  MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE