Introducing: Healthy Homes East Bank!

BUILD grant results in new collaborative effort

Introducing: Healthy Homes East Bank!

If a home is not healthy, its residents are far less likely to be healthy. In fact, housing has been called a vaccine. Over the last year, the Polk County Housing Trust Fund and local partners explored this idea and produced an intervention called Healthy Homes East Bank, to minimize clinic and hospital visits related to pediatric asthma in three low-income Des Moines neighborhoods.

Claire Richmond is the project manager for Healthy Homes East Bank, and has been coordinating all the moving parts of the collaboration since its launch July 1. Claire began working with the PCHTF for her graduate thesis, which analyzed risk factors to health related to Greater Des Moines housing. She co-wrote a successful grant application to fund HHEB earlier this year. 

In the last month, Claire was busy helping to create the relationships that will produce new processes with hospitals and community-based nonprofits. Collaborative efforts such as HHEB are critical for health systems to move toward population health, which has the ability to impact chronic disease. Additionally, HealthyHomesEastBank.org was launched, and Claire represented the project at Jazz in July at La Placita, as well as Viva East Bank! housing work group and neighborhood meetings.

HHEB is a two-pronged approach that uses health education to empower families, as well as home repairs to improve indoor air quality. First, patients eligible for the program will be identified using hospital asthma data. Then Visiting Nurse Services and the Polk County Health Department will meet the families and assess the homes for needed renovations. This process allows a tailored approach to address a household’s needs using contractors from Polk County Public Works, who will make repairs to the build environment, and VNS case managers, who will help families control asthma. HHEB is scheduled to begin home assessments on September 1. 

Healthy Homes East Bank is a collaboration among Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Polk County Health DepartmentUnityPoint Health - Des MoinesMercy Medical Center Des MoinesBroadlawns Medical CenterMid-Iowa Health FoundationViva East BankPolk County Public WorksDes Moines Public Schools, and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa. Healthy Homes East Bank is funded in part by BUILD Health Challenge, which supports community collaborations using non-clinical approaches that give everyone a fair chance to be healthy. The BUILD Health Challenge is an effort founded by The Advisory Board Companyde Beaumont FoundationThe Kresge FoundationRobert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Colorado Health Foundation.