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National Green & Healthy Home Initiative

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a public-private partnership that refocuses how we as a nation repair and improve housing in economically challenged communities.

GHHI is leading a national strategy to make sure all families and children live in homes that are healthy, safe, energy-efficient and sustainable.

Creating greener, safer, and healthier homes leads to more stable housing, a higher quality of life and better health, mental health and social and economic outcomes for parents and their children.

Investment in the development of Green and Healthy Homes creates a sustainable pathway to higher-quality “green jobs” and generates small-business ownership opportunities for residents of economically distressed communities.

For many years, we have seen housing-improvement efforts operate independently. Some focus on lead paint removal, others on insulating and retrofitting homes to make them more energy-efficient.

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative meets all of these goals in a more efficient, cost-effective and holistic manner. We bring together funding sources, erase bureaucratic boundaries and address all of the problems of a family home at one time. By aligning and coordinating various resources, we use a single intervention to fix the problems of each housing unit, while ensuring the work is safe for both residents and workers.

The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative is a partnership between the federal government, national and local philanthropy, the National Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and local partners in the 15 GHHI project sites – 13 cities and two Native American Tribes, with more sites to be added over the next year.

We are partnering with nonprofits in each community, providing technical assistance and support to help them train personnel and develop resources needed to create retrofitted and refurbished Green and Healthy Homes.

As we work locally, we are also working closely with federal policymakers to create new comprehensive green and healthy housing standards that integrate weatherization, energy efficiency, Healthy Homes, and lead-hazard reduction interventions.

The goals are broad, connected and critically important: stabilized housing, healthier outcomes for children and families and better jobs.

The Green and Healthy Homes bottom line:

Children and families are healthier and have brighter prospects.
Preventable medical costs are reduced.
Energy costs for families are reduced.
More sustainable housing is created.
More well-paying green sector jobs and training opportunities are made available.

How It Works

In the past, one housing program would focus on removing lead paint from a home, but ignore other safety hazards such as mold, pest infestation or inadequate staircase railings, or inefficiencies that result in excessive energy usage and costs for the occupant. A crew would remove the lead paint but do nothing to address the other issues — due to a lack of funding support, lack of training or both.

With GHHI, we are working with nonprofits and their partners to create new approaches that holistically address all of a home’s problems. We are creating training programs for work crews and establishing protocols to do the work more efficiently. Under this strategy, work to weatherize a home or make it more energy-efficient also incorporates critical improvements related to the health and safety of the family living there. A crew making improvements to boost energy efficiency also address all health-related hazards such as poor ventilation, water leaks, mold, pests, and lead.

For more information on GHHI visit www.greenandhealthyhomes.org. For more information on the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo visit www.cfgb.org/