HUD announces winners of 2018 Healthy Homes Awards

Model programs in Baltimore, MD, Fort Collins, CO, Milwaukee, WI, and a Research Study Earn HUD Secretary’s Award


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 HUD Secretary’s Award for Healthy Homes, an award recognizing excellence in making indoor environments healthier through healthy homes.

For the fourth consecutive year, HUD and NEHA identified outstanding local programs and research that promote healthier housing through education, partnering, and innovative practices. HUD has a strong partnership with NEHA based on a common vision of creating healthier home environments by working across the health, environment, and housing sectors. The award was initiated in 2015 to showcase results achieved under a wide range of housing and indoor environmental health programs.

Nominations and applications were received from academic institutions, state government agencies, housing authorities, and community-based organizations. NEHA’s Technical Advisors, a distinguished six-judge panel representing a cross-section of experts for the healthy homes community evaluated entries.

Criteria for winning the awards include demonstration of the health impact on population, policy/program innovations, impact on the physical environment, economic sustainability, partnership/collaboration, and measurability.

The Awardees are:

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, Baltimore, MD (Cross-Program)

Founded in 1986, GHHI has grown to be a national leader in the healthy homes and integrated and health and energy field.  In 1999, GHHI launched one of the nation’s first healthy homes programs that offered resident education, environment assessment and housing interventions to remediate asthma triggers, household injury risks and other homes-based environmental health hazards.  Since 1993, GHHI has directly served more than 20,000 clients and completed over 4,000 healthy homes interventions in the homes of low income families in Baltimore City as well as providing technical assistance to 45 cities and states on successful healthy homes strategies.

GHHI has worked with jurisdictions to generate over $300 million in philanthropic, private, corporate support and public support for healthy homes services.

Fort Collins Healthy Homes Program and DIY Assessment Tool, Fort Collins, CO (Policy and Education Innovation)

Recognizing the implications of poor indoor air quality on human health and productivity, the City of Fort Collins’ Healthy Homes program was established in 2011 as an innovative solution to address residential indoor air quality. The program is unique in that it is driven by community members who volunteer their time as Master Home Educators.  Since 2011, over 800 in-home assessments have been conducted and 2,475 residents, 19% of whom have asthma, have been reached.  In order to reach more residents, the program created an online DIY Home Assessment Tool which is patterned after the Healthy Homes in-home assessment and focuses on the “Eight Principles of a Healthy Home.” This interactive and customizable tool ( walks residents through each area of their home, asking specific questions as it relates to indoor air quality problems and provides low and no-cost adv. These include ventilation, mold, pests, chemical contaminants, cleanliness, and home maintenance and safety.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority/Thurgood Marshall Apartments, Milwaukee, WI (Public Housing)

Thurgood Marshall Apartments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, takes an innovative approach to the seemingly hopeless dilemma of chronic homelessness. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority administers the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, one of the funding sources. The new construction project provides 24 one-bedroom units of permanent supporting housing for very low-income adults who are chronically homeless and who suffer from chronic alcoholism. Since 2008, with the creation of more than 600 units for individuals who have either been homeless or at risk of homelessness, Milwaukee County has made substantial progress in the development of supportive housing.

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA (Research)

This award recognizes excellence in Healthy Homes research, and long-term commitment to the enhancement of Healthy Homes concepts through education and outreach. The work highlights the joint efforts of Dr. Coby Schal at NC State and Dr. Felicia Rabito at Tulane on investigating the role of cockroaches on the quality of homes in the inner city, and on their roles in asthma morbidity in low income children in the United States. This unique collaboration combines the efforts of academic researchers who work across the health, environment, and housing sectors. A major innovation of their work was the linkage of entomologist and environmental epidemiologists, that enables a deeper understanding of how to eradicate cockroach infestations using the lower toxicity approaches, significantly reduce household allergens, and improve children’s health.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “These awards collectively underscore the vital need to strengthen public understanding of the link between health and housing. Our awardees have uniquely contributed to increasing this awareness, and our partners who submitted nominations are making inroads every day towards improving the quality of lives.”

HUD presented these awards during an Awards Ceremony at the NEHA 2018 AEC and HUD Healthy Homes Conference, June 27, in Anaheim, California.