All people deserve to live in housing that is decent, affordable,
healthy, and safe. Healthy housing belongs high on the national policy agenda
because environmental health hazards in housing eclipse outdoor exposures and
add billions to health care costs. Health hazards in housing include those that
cause and contribute to asthma (such as dust allergens, mold, and pests), toxic
materials (such as lead, asbestos, and chemical pesticides), and dangerous gases
(such as carbon monoxide and radon).
The Alliance for Healthy Homes calls on leadership from
all levels of government to prevent and reduce health hazards in housing.
Common sense and fairness should shape policy solutions:
Focus attention and resources on housing that poses
the greatest health risks, which is overwhelmingly older, low-income, and
in substandard condition. This will yield the greatest improvement in health
outcomes and address the unfair burden borne by low-income and minority families.
Adapt and expand existing systems and programs to integrate
health considerations into how housing is financed, constructed, maintained,
and operated. This will maximize resources and results, prevent duplication
of effort, emphasize accessible measures, and take advantage of opportunities
that might otherwise be missed.
Build capacity for local problem-solving in recognition
of local variations in housing stock and hazards. This will ensure that the
communities affected help design solutions to meet their needs and strengthen
communities’ capacity to develop and sustain solutions.
Prioritize cost-effective approaches that preserve
affordability of low-income housing while increasing the availability of affordable
housing. Because most healthy housing practices increase value, improve durability,
and reduce energy costs, this will ensure both the quality and quantity of
More specific recommendations on policies to advance policy
solutions are outlined in the Alliance's National
Healthy Homes Policy Agenda. The Alliance is engaged in ongoing
discussions with a wide range of agencies, individuals, and organizations to
share and refine our ideas and to learn what others recommend. We
welcome your suggestions—both your comments on our recommendations
and your ideas for other policy solutions.