July 10, 2020
Over the last few months, I've heard many parents share their concerns about how to keep their homes clean and pest-free. This is especially true for parents of children with asthma or other chronic health conditions. They are nervous to have people come into their home to fix any issues, but they also know the longer their child is exposed to asthma or allergens, the more likely their child may need to go to the hospital. It is one of the biggest dilemmas many DC families are facing every day.
All parents want their children to be healthy. Yet the relationship between poor housing conditions and certain health problems such as asthma and lead poisoning is well-documented. We also know that one’s race often predict the potential for poor housing conditions that negatively influence their health.
The longer the public health crisis goes on, these inequities will widen and the risks on a child's health will increase.
That’s why Children’s Law Center, through our work with the DC Healthy Housing Collaborative, created a suite of videos and tip sheets in English and Spanish to help families take small steps to keep their children healthy while spending their time at home. For parents who do want repairs made, we developed additional materials to request their landlords prioritize the safety and health of their family before allowing maintenance staff to enter their apartment or home.
In the videos, Children’s Law Center family outreach worker, Kayla Brandon, walks viewers through two tutorials, one focused on keeping asthma under control and the other on how to keep mice and roaches away.
Thanks to support from the BUILD Health Challenge, the William J. and Dorothy K. O'Neill Foundation and many other donors, Children's Law Center has been tackling these issues in partnership with DC Health, Children's National, Mary's Center and Unity Health Care. This collaboration propelled our efforts to combat unhealthy housing and its impact on children's health -- and it is because of this funding we were able to add Kayla to our team.
Unfortunately, we know families will worry about whether to have contractors come into their homes to make repairs for the foreseeable future. It is why resources like these and our advocacy for tenant families is more important than ever -- and why we need your continued support.
We are now sharing these resources with parents, other nonprofit organizations and our medical partners so families can prevent housing issues from getting worse during this time.
Charday Eury, one parent we have had the honor of working with to advocate for healthier homes, shared how useful these videos and tip sheets will be in reaching more families during this time.
"These materials cover what a parent needs when caring for a child with asthma, and it will greatly benefit our communities," said Charday.
Our hope is that these tips help parents tackle little problems before they become bigger -- and help their children breathe a little easier.
To access and share these resources with others in our community, visit http://bit.ly/DCHealthyHousing
Senior Attorney, Healthy Together