The U.S. Census estimates that more than 5.9 million housing units are substandard with multiple or severe health hazards and that 39 million housing units nationwide contain at least one health hazard. Some of these hazards may be seen (mold, dust, and pests; deteriorated lead paint or pipes) or unseen (electrical and physical hazards, radon, carbon monoxide, and other poisons and carcinogens) and can cause illness, injury, and even death. Fortunately, there are plenty of actions you can take to protect your family from these health hazards. The following resources will take you to brochures, fact sheets, and websites to help you understand the hazards in your home and what you can do to alleviate or eliminate their impacts.

Seven Tips for Keeping a Healthy Home 
This one-pager from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) outlines and provides a brief description of the Seven Principles of Healthy Homes: Keep It Dry, Keep It Clean, Keep It Safe, Keep It Well-Ventilated, Keep It Pest-Free, Keep It Contaminant-Free, and Keep It Well-Maintained. Many organizations now promote an eighth principle, Make it Energy-Efficient, which is not reflected in HUD's list. [url; HUD]

Help Yourself to a Healthy Home 
HUD's Help Yourself book employs a question-and-answer process to provide information about the most prevalent hazards found in homes and how to address them. It covers issues related to indoor air and water quality in the home and features information about hazardous household products. [pdf; HUD, 2002]

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – Healthy Homes, Lead Poisoning Prevention, and Asthma Control
CDC’s Healthy Homes site includes tips by topic and audience, publications, videos, and more to provide consumers with information about how to keep homes safe and healthy. [url; CDC]
  •  A Healthy Home for Everyone: The Guide for Families and Individuals
    This CDC guide provides specific cause, effect, and‎ – in some cases‎ – treatment for home health hazards. It also features a glossary of terms related to healthy housing and an extensive list of helpful links to specific information and agencies. [pdf; CDC]
  • National Asthma Control Program
    CDC’s National Asthma Control Program provides tips for controlling asthma triggers, state contacts for asthma control programs, and much more. [url; CDC]
HUD’s Healthy Homes Information for Consumers 
[url; HUD]
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Brochures and Fact Sheets
The following fact sheets from NIEHS provide helpful information about how the environment impacts your health. [url; NIEHS]
  • Asthma and Its Environmental Triggers
    This document explains what asthma is, what role genetics plays in its prevalence, and its relationship with allergies. Offers what individuals and families basic mechanisms to reduce asthma attack occurrences. [pdf, NIEHS]
  • Lead and Your Health
    This document explains what lead is, where it's often found, and its impact on the human body, especially children, when exposed to lead particles and dust. [pdf, NIEHS]
  • Mold
    This document provides a description of mold and how and where individuals can be exposed to it. It outlines some of the research currently being conducted to determine mold's impact on health. [pdf, NIEHS]
Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) Consumer Education Materials
GHHI offers families information on numerous home health hazards and a green and healthy homes quiz.
[url; GHHI]

Lead – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA's lead site provides extension information about lead, where it's found, its health effects, and who's at risk from lead exposure. The site provides information for both residents and contractors, including a list of lead-certified contractors for homeowners, and Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting program trainings for contractors. Lead outreach materials, such as posters and brochures, are also available through the site as are specific ways to Protect Your Family from Exposures to Lead. [url; EPA]

Facts about Mold and Dampness
This site from the CDC provides clear information about where mold is found in the home and how it impacts health. It also provides information about how to control and prevent mold. Information on the site is also available in Spanish. [url; CDC]

Examples of Home Repair Loan Programs to Promote in Your Community

Washington (DC) Single Family Residential Rehabilitation Program (SFRRP)
A loan and/or grant program for home repairs to address building code violations and help homeowners repair health and safety hazards, and/or provide access to disabled residents. [url; DC Department of Housing and Community Development]

Dallas (TX) Home Repair Program
This program offers deferred loans to low-income homeowners for major systems repairs (MSRP) such as roof replacement, replacement or upgrades to plumbing, electrical, and HVAC and no-interest, deferred payment loans for reconstruction of homes referred from the MSRP program. A percentage of the MSRP loans are reduced annually as long as the owner remains in the home. [url; City of Dallas]

Greensboro (NC) Housing Rehabilitation Programs
This program features a Homeowner Rehabilitation Program targeted to low- and moderate-income homeowners to help them address major housing code and structural issues, a Rental Housing Improvement Program offering low-interest deferred loans of up to $20,000 to repair rental properties with seven units or fewer, and a Lead-Safe Housing Program, which offers grants for removal of lead-based paint hazards. [url; City of Greensboro]

Boulder (CO) Home Repair Program
This is a low-interest loan fund, based on financial need, in which the owner-occupant can defer repayment of the loan for 15 years or until they sell the house, whichever comes first. [url; City of Boulder]

Milwaukee (WI) Minor Home Repair Program
This loan fund — somewhat similar to Boulder's, although not as flexible — offers lower loan amounts and provides a good criteria for eligible repairs. [url; City of Milwaukee]

Fact Sheets, Checklists, and Guides

Steps for Creating a Healthier Home: Costs for a Typical Two-Story Single-Family Home
This fact sheet outlines steps homeowners can take to create a healthy home. It provides approximate costs related to each step or repair, and the steps are aligned with the Seven Principles of Healthy Homes.
[url, pdf; NCHH]

Do-It-Yourself Home Environmental Assessment List (HEAL)
Originally designed by the Clean Air for Kids Asthma and Allergies Management Program, this do-it-yourself home environmental assessment is designed to help you identify ways to make your home environment healthy. The two-part assessment consists of a survey and an action plan. [pdf; Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department]

Healthy Homes Maintenance Checklist
This is a seasonal checklist for healthy home maintenance developed for the Healthy Homes Training Center and Network. The PDF provides a matrix of maintenance tasks and the seasons in which they should be completed. [pdf; NCHH]

The Ultimate Home Checklist

This do-it-yourself home maintenance list identifies tasks that should be completed daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally. [url;]

Information on Energy Efficient Home Renovations

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)
The most comprehensive listing of state and local incentives and policies supporting renewable and efficient energy in the U.S., this database compiles state-by-state, federal, state, and local incentives available for energy-related upgrades, including tax credits and rebates. [url; DSIRE]

Building Professional Institute (BPI) Energy Performance
BPI's site offers information about how housing components such as HVAC systems, insulation, and lighting impact the health, safety, and energy efficiency of a home. The site provides resources to help homeowners assess the performance of their home as well links to BPI-accredited contractors in their area. [url; BPI]

Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET)
RESNET provides information specifically targeted to homeowners about home energy performance and the Home Energy Rating Services (HERS) auditing index. The site features a mechanism for homeowners to find local HERS raters. [url; RESNET]

Building America Solution Center (Department of Energy [DOE])
The Solution Center offers information about how to address common household issues ‎– from renovation to new construction, energy retrofits, and insulation techniques. [url; DOE]

What else would you like to know about healthy housing? Is there another home hazard or intervention information that we should highlight? Please let us know. Email the information and link to Julie Kruse.