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Is your home healthy? Focusing on healthy housing to improve health outcomes

Housing conditions, such as a dilapidated structure, poor heating, rusty plumbing, mold, dust, and lead paint, are all associated with adverse health conditions like respiratory illness, asthma, and lead poisoning. A significant number of New Brunswick households reported having at least one of four housing problems classified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  These housing problems are further substantiated by the fact that the average house in New Brunswick was built prior to 1950 and that lead paint was widely present in homes built prior to 1970.

To meet this need, the New Brunswick Healthy Housing Collaborative was created and focused on improving health outcomes by mitigating housing issues facing residents within the Esperanza and Unity Square neighborhoods; two neighborhoods with some of the greatest health and social disparities within the city. The Collaborative also looks to make system changes to our local health and social institutions, including government, to promote, sustain, and ensure healthy housing practices in New Brunswick. This initiative is generously funded by the BUILD Health Challenge, a national focus led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Currently, the Collaborative is focused on establishing a resident-led Outreach Team – – with a Program Coordinator and 7 Health Ambassadors – – trained on effective outreach, healthy housing practices and on conducting home assessments. The Ambassadors launched their outreach activities in April, 2018, and, to-date, have resulted in 90+ residents signing up for healthy housing assessments to be completed. The Team has already assessed more than 30 homes and with the support of the NJ Healthy Collaborative Network, we anticipate expanding efforts to surpass our initial goal of having 100 homes assessed before the end of the year.

About the Grantee

New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT)

New Brunswick Tomorrow's mission is to improve the quality of life for all New Brunswick residents; driving ideas, partnerships and initiatives that reinvigorate lives and move people forward. Within Community Health, a major focus area, we look to improve health outcomes by promoting health active lifestyles, preventing diseases, and increasing access to health services.