The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has named Wisconsin’s Healthy Housing Initiatives Portfolio (WHHIP) as the winner of the 2023 HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Healthy Homes.
Healthy housing is the foundation for strong, vibrant communities and their residents. HUD’s honor offers the opportunity to recognize the program or project best creating and sustaining healthier home environments.
“Wisconsin’s Healthy Homes Initiatives Portfolio improved the lives of children with asthma and those threatened by lead exposure in Wisconsin,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Through collaboration, evidence-based policy, and strong commitment to sustainability, this project stood out in a large group of worthy nominations.”
WHHIP, a project within Wisconsin’s Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health developed and launched initiatives to decrease residential lead paint hazards for at-risk populations and implement in-home asthma education and low-cost home modifications in the homes of Wisconsin children.
For the first time, HUD chose to give the Secretary’s Award to a single organization. This award recognizes a project or program that has made extraordinary impacts in their locality through innovative solutions which are replicable with quantifiable health, economic, and/or societal outcomes.
Established in 2015, HUD’s Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Healthy Homes Award highlights innovative approaches, best practices, policies, research, and community engagement that make significant contributions to reduce exposure to health risks, environmental hazards, and substandard housing, especially in resource-limited communities.
The University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Pharmacy (SOP) and School of Medicine (SOM), the Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH) of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS), and the nonprofit organizations Dane County Parent Council Head Start (DCHS) and Project Home, Lowe's Companies through Lowe's Home Safety Council, Madison SAFE KIDS Coalition, and the Greater Madison Safe Communities Coalition are all partners in WHHIP. The Project uses home visitation to the families of DCHS children (poverty-level families) and the basic principles of epidemiology—an examination of host, agent, and environment—to reduce environmental risk factors for asthma, injury, and lead. These home visits, by trained members of Head Start (HS) families, as well as by professionals, employ an extensive environmental survey involving home inspection for allergen exposure, injury hazards, and lead exposure; risk stratification; and individualized and targeted home interventions. Quality assurance is built into all process elements, and environmental and medical evaluations are used to determine outcomes.
Plans for the 2024 competition will be announced during the National Healthy Homes Conference portion of the Building Performance Association’s National Home Performance Conference and Trade Show, set for April 8-11, 2024 in Minneapolis, MN.